BARCELONA and Real Madrid legends, Carlos Puyol and Roberto Carlos are set for Zimbabwe in June, where they will be part of an international team of legends to play their local counterparts in Harare.
BY GARISH PHIRI
The match, set for June 8, is organised by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority in conjunction with the Sports ministry, in their efforts to promote sports tourism in the country.
Ex-Brazil hitman, Julio Baptista is also expected for the match.
This was revealed at a meeting in Harare yesterday, attended by Baptista, who arrived in the country yesterday as part of the team to publicise the upcoming event. Reports suggested that Carlos is also expected in the country next week.
Organisers of the exhibition, Rayco Garcia, who organised a match between Warriors legends and their Barcelona counterparts last year and La Liga’s Africa representative, Antonio Barradas said the full list of the squads would be announced in due course.
“We are here today to announce an important message that we are coming to play football, to promote the country internationally,” Garcia said.
“Last time, when I came, it was a success and I am very happy.
“At first, we didn’t know much about Zimbabwe.
“Unfortunately, for the past few years, Zimbabwe didn’t have a good name, but with this initiative we can change this.
“We can make it better and spread it all over the world that this is a safe place to come and invest in.
“It is different from what we see on television.
“So we want to use football as a platform to deliver a good message about this country using world class ambassadors.”
However, it is the prospect of watching Puyol and Carlos live in action that should excite local football enthusiasts.
Puyol is regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation.
A one-club man, he served as the long-time team captain for Barcelona after taking over from Luis Enrique in August 2004, and went on to appear in 593 official games for the club and win 20 major titles, notably six La Liga trophies and three Champions League titles.
A Spain international on 100 occasions, Puyol was part of the squad that won the Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup tournaments.
In the latter competition’s semi-final, he scored the only goal of the match against Germany.
Carlos, famed for his powerful left foot, spent 11 successful seasons, playing 584 matches in all competitions and scoring 71 goals for Real Madrid.
At Real, he won four La Liga titles and the Uefa Champions League three times.
In April 2013, he was named by Marca as a member of the Best Foreign 11 in Real Madrid’s history.
This would be the second time is less than a year that Zimbabwe will be hosting an almost similar match, after bringing in a team of Barcelona legends last November, which featured Patrick Kluivert, Edgar Davids and Rivaldo.
Barradas said: “We want to bring trainers that whole will train the teachers that teach children, we want to train trainers, who are at school level and these trainers will be from Spain. We want more Zimbabwean players to come and play in Spain that is my wish.”