THIS might not have been a competitive football match, but it cheered the spirits of thousands of fans in particular the young generation, which had the privilege to watch the yester-year heroes in action.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Zimbabwe legends . . . . (0) 2
Barcelona legends . . . . (2) 2
The exhibition match between the Zimbabwe football legends and Barcelona legends attracted a sell-out crowd that was treated to some entertaining football at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
Nobody really cared about the final outcome — a 2-2 draw.
The Barcelona legends famed for their philosophy of keeping possession, the tiki-taka, lit up the giant Stadium with former Barca midfielder Edgar Davids virtually turning the match into a display of the art of dribbling and ball control.
He kept the fans on the edge of their seats with his silky skills and Edelbert Dinha would be the first to testify that the Netherlands international remains one of the stand-out players to have played for Barcelona.
Patrick Kluivert — another former Dutch international striker who played for Ajax, the Dutch school of football excellency, before playing for Barcelona also proved why he was widely regarded as a striker of the highest order with two splendid headed goals.
From Rivaldo, Jose Edmilson, Lodovic Giuli, and company, the Barca legends demonstrated why they are regarded as some of the best players to have emerged on this planet.
The way they passed the ball around, the dribbling and timing, all spoke the language of football made easy.
The Warriors, which featured the likes of Madinda Ndlovu, Peter Ndlovu, Kaitano Tembo, Moses Chunga, Dumisani Mpofu, Ronald “Gidiza” Sibanda and Kalisto Pasuwa among several stars also gave a reminder of what those who were not privileged to watch them in their heyday, missed.
Madinda in particular, justified why he is regarded as one of the finest players to don the Warriors jersey, as he entertained the crowd with some cheeky passes and unmatched composure.
And with a little bit of luck, he could have added his name on the score sheet after 18 minutes before he was withdrawn. Most of those who participated yesterday, might have long retired from the game, but those runs and passes caught the eye.
Gidiza’s passing range and timing remains amazing for a player of his age. He won a lot of admirers with those defence splitting passes.
After a sluggish start, the Warriors legends found themselves trailing behind on seven minutes after Kluivert, was left unattended, put his team up with a headed goal off a cross from the left by Davids.
The Dutch striker then completed his brace two minutes later with a carbon copy of a header off a free kick by Rivaldo on the edge of the area.
Sunday Chidzambwa who coached the Warriors legends then made wholesale changes to the team with Prophet Walter Magaya — who proved a crowd favourite, also given a run and never put his foot wrong.
The changes paid dividends as Zimbabwe threatened with some dangerous raids and Johannes Ngodzo came close as his effort crashed against the bar.
Zenzo Moyo, however, pulled one back with a stunning scissors kick following a wonderful delivery from Gidiza.
Edward Sadomba then chipped in with a beautiful leveller from the acutest of angles at the death.
Madinda said after the match, “The idea behind this match was not about the result. It was played in the spirit of friendship, it helped especially the youngsters to have an idea of how the football legends played and I think it was an entertaining match from that perspective.”
Davids said: “It was a fantastic match. The Zimbabwe legends are a very good side, as they played very well in the second half.”