BY KEVIN MAPASURE
Standard Chartered Bank has flung open the doors of Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium in a lifetime experience for seven footballers who will win the fourth edition of the popular Standard Chartered Cup that will be staged this weekend.
The five-aside tournament will have high stakes because the winners will not only take home the trophy, but will clinch air tickets to Liverpool, tickets to a league match between Jurgen Klopp’s side and Southampton on February 1 next year as well as accommodation and coaching opportunities with the European giants.
Unlike the previous years, where the winners had to go through another stage in their bid to win the Anfield trip, local winners will not have to compete in a regional tournament as Saturday’s champions automatically clinch the mouth-watering prize.
Standard Chartered Bank, a shirts sponsor for Liverpool, announced yesterday that the tournament would play out in Harare on Saturday featuring 16 teams.
The bank’s chief executive officer Ralph Watungwa said their organisation was proud to be associated with Liverpool, who are the reigning European champions.
“We are delighted to hold the Standard Chartered Cup tournament in Zimbabwe again. This tournament is hinged on the bank’s Liverpool FC sponsorship,” he said.
“This is the bank’s unique way of thanking our clients and stakeholders who have remained loyal to our franchise and loyal to the Standard Chartered brand. I hope our clients and key stakeholders will have a great time on the day.”
Standard Chartered head of corporate affairs, brand and marketing Lillian Hapanyengwi said the tournament was the bank’s contribution to the development of the game in the country.
“We are delighted to hold this initiative, which will also work towards promoting the game of football in Zimbabwe. This is an awesome ‘money can’t buy’ opportunity for our clients to visit Anfield and play on the Anfield pitch,” she said in a statement.
“The winning team, comprising seven individuals of the competition will enjoy a ‘money-can’t-buy’ experience including return economy flight tickets and accommodation in Liverpool, and tickets for a Liverpool home match in February 2020.
“In addition, the winning team will also receive a professional training session with Liverpool FC legends and coaches to help them improve their football techniques. The Standard Chartered Cup aims not only to engage the bank’s clients of the Zimbabwean franchise, but also the large football loving community and Liverpool FC fans.”
Competition at the tournament is expected to be stiff as teams tussle for the ticket to the iconic club.
Apart from watching a match, the experience of meeting as well as getting coaching from some of Liverpool’s coaches and legends will be invaluable.
Liverpool, who are currently the log leaders in the English Premier League, will host Southampton on February 1 at 5pm local time.
Saturday’s winners will get the opportunity of experiencing Anfield at its loudest as well as the popular rendition of the Liverpool anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone, recited religiously just before kick-off and towards the final whistle.
They will get to watch Liverpool super stars such as Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino live in action.
Over the years, Dairibord, who usually parade former Premier Soccer League players, have dominated the Zimbabwe edition, but have failed to win at the regional stage, but this time, the Road to Anfield could be much smoother.