Visiting Dutch and Barcelona FC greats Edgar Davids, Patrick Kluivert and Rayco Garcia made a surprise appearance at the 6th Presidential Youth Rally in Gwanda Saturday.
The three had made a request to meet President Robert Mugabe and were told to wait until next Tuesday or Wednesday.
But information from their host said they had no option but to fly to Gwanda to have the opportunity to meet Mugabe.
There was a brief silence from thousands of the ruling party supporters as they did not know who the three men were as they had a brief chat with President Robert Mugabe in the VIP tent.
Their host, the Sport Minister Makhosini Hlongwane, said his visitors had to hire a private jet to Gwanda and had their flight back to Netherlands delayed to accord them the chance to meet Mugabe.
"The requested to meet President Mugabe and they were told it can only be Tuesday or Wednesday because of his busy schedule said Hlongwane in an interview.
"Hence they decided to hire a private jet to Gwanda."
Hlongwane added, "So they also attended the commissioning of a community- based information centre in Jahunda suburb."
On Friday, the three soccer legends visited the National Heroes Acre, the National Sports Stadium and paid courtesy calls to vice presidents Emmerson Mnangwaga and Phelekezela Mphoko.
The three had been in the country since Thursday to lay the foundation ground for an agreement that will benefit young footballers. They left Saturday night.
Speaking on the purpose of the visit, Hlongwane said this was "sporting diplomacy" meant to build the image of battered country and build of a foundation that will see young players going to Barcelona.
"You know, we have suffered 20 years of battering by some media. Which is very hostile outside and an important part of making sure that we reconstruct our image is through sport and that is exactly what we are doing," said the minister.
"These guys are here to do that and they have done quite some work in Harare."
Edgar Davids played for Ajax, in Netherlands, AC Milan and Inter Milan in Italy and Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona.
Kluivert played at Barcelona, Newcastle, Valencia FC and PSV Eindhoven.