Zimbabwe: Bid to Bring Chelsea Legends to Zim

24 February 2021

Sports Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Chapter of registered fans of English Premiership giants, Chelsea, have embarked on an audacious bid to bring the London club's legends to come and play in this country.

The supporters, who communicate directly with the club, have since activated channels to lure the team's legends to come to Zimbabwe.

The legends include Ivorian star Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Petr Cech.

The fans are set to approach the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to help them, as part of a package to promote the country's sports tourism.

The chapter's chairman, Batsirai Ngoshi, said while Covid-19 remains a concern, as it has complicated their programme, they will pursue their mission, as soon as the pandemic eases.

"Yes, it's true we are an official supporters club of Chelsea Football Club in Zimbabwe and we communicate using mails through our secretary, Mr Benson Chiguri," he said.

"We communicate directly with Chelsea Football Club and we are officially registered on the Fifth Stand.

"So far, we have received some packages, straight from Stamford Bridge, as thank you parcels and we have certificates of recognition and accolades of participation in different projects.

"Our aim now is to bring the Chelsea Legends to come and play In Zimbabwe.

"We have already started engaging them and we also want to start liaising with Zimbabwean authorities.

"We are very confident that they will come and play against a Warriors Legends side."

If this comes to fruition, the Chelsea Legends will be the second batch of retired stars from a major European side, to come to Zimbabwe.

The Barcelona Legends played against their Warriors counterparts four years ago at the National Sports Stadium.

This Chelsea fans have been donating to the needy members of the society, including the Albino Association of Zimbabwe and Chinyaradzo Children's Home, since 2017.

At the weekend, they made another donation in Chitungwiza.

A survey by the BBC, ahead of the start of the 2015/2016 English Premiership season, showed that Chelsea were the most supported club in West Africa.

"For football fans in Africa, the UK's English Premier League is king, the ultimate championship, their main place of their worship," the BBC reported.

"The global football brand is followed by more than a billion people around the world and 260 million of these are in Africa.

"As the 2015-16 season kicks off, bars and cafes from Cape Town to Cairo will be preparing for an influx of fans, getting ready to follow the action on big screens.

"You cannot talk about the Premier League in West Africa without thinking of Didier Drogba, Solomon Kalou, Samuel Eto'o, Victor Moses, Michael Essien and John Mikel Obi, all West Africans who have played for The Blues.

"However, Drogba stands out because of his achievements both on and off the field.

"Of course, he was a legendary striker for the club, scoring the winning penalty to clinch the Champions League for Chelsea in 2012, and also becoming the first African player to score 100 EPL goals in the same year.

"But he is also widely revered in his native Cote d'Ivoire for his peace-building efforts after a conflict broke out in 2010-2011, and has started his own foundation to promote health and education in the country."

Arsenal emerged as the most supported club in North and East Africa.

In Southern Africa, Manchester United took the title with 23 percent of fans in South Africa, backing the Red Devils while 21 percent support the Gunners and 18 percent back Chelsea.

In Zimbabwe, 28 percent of the fans were found to be supporters of Manchester United, 19 percent were for the Gunners and 17 percent were for Chelsea.

In Zambia, 30 percent were United fans, 27 percent were Gunners fans and 18 percent were Chelsea fans.

"It is not a surprise that Manchester United is the most popular club in southern Africa," the BBC said.

"They are the most successful team in the history of the EPL, winning 13 titles since the league started in 1992.

"They also signed one of South Africa's biggest stars, Quinton Fortune, who played for the Red Devils for seven years. "He is also one of the many ex-players who travel to the region as a brand ambassador every year.

"South Africa was the first country in Africa to have an official Manchester United Supporters Club."

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