Emirates FA Cup wins hearts of Zimbabwe soccer fans

Emirates FA Cup wins hearts of Zimbabwe soccer fans
Published: 16 October 2017 (425 Views)
HARARE - Soccer fans have had a week to remember when the Emirates FA Cup came to Harare, along with soccer legend Nwankwo Kanu.

The trophy, which arrived at Harare International Airport on Saturday on board an Emirates flight, spent two days in Harare as part of its four-day tour of Zambia and Zimbabwe. In Harare, Kanu spent time at a coaching clinic for over 60 pupils from Prince Edward and Churchill High Schools.

Kanu also attended a variety of events including media interviews and a meet-and-greet event with members of the Arsenal Supports Club of Zimbabwe, where soccer fans had an opportunity to take photos with him and the famous piece of silverware.

"We've had a wonderful stay in Zimbabwe. The people were lovely from the time we arrived at the airport with the FA Cup trophy. It was exciting to give an opportunity for many football fans to see the trophy live and to meet the pupils at the coaching clinic. I could see their determination to improve their football skills and to succeed. I encouraged them to concentrate on education while doing sport because the two go together," said Kanu.

As part of the tour, winners of competitions on ZBC and the Emirates Facebook page were also entered into a draw for a top prize of two tickets, flights and accommodation to watch the FA Cup final in London in May 2018.

Emirates Country Manager for Zimbabwe, Fahad Bastaki, said their airline was happy to be part of the history of bringing the iconic FA Cup for the first time to the country.

"Emirates shares Zimbabwe's passion for football. That's why we are excited to bring the Emirates FA Cup trophy to Harare, along with one of football's legends, Nwankwo Kanu," he said.

He said the airline, which flies daily from Zimbabwe to Dubai and connects the country to more than 150 global destinations, was one of the largest supporters of sport in the world.

Kanu, a three-time FA Cup winner who accompanied the trophy on its journey, shared memories of winning the prestigious trophy during the days he played professional football at Arsenal and Portsmouth football clubs in England.

Minister of Sports and Recreation Hon. Makhosini Hlongwane, who officiated at a cocktail reception in Harare, said the Emirates FA Cup trophy was a reminder of the Zimbabwe nation to achieve greater things in sports.


Minister of Sports and Recreation Hon. Makhosini Hlongwane welcomes soccer legend Nwankwo Kanu and the Emirates FA Cup to Harare.

"I would like to recognise and congratulate Emirates for their commitment to the bigger picture of the development of the game of football ad sports in general. Emirates is not just one of the best airlines in the world, it is also one of the largest.

Hon. Hlongwane commended the event organisers for the pupils' coaching clinics, which he said were good for the youths who aspire to succeed in professional football.

"Let me take this opportunity to thank Emirates for supporting sport across the world. We would also like to see more of our talent transitioned into the professional world in order to raise the level of performance of athletes at national, regional and international competitions. We want to see more Nkwanko Kanus emerging out of Zimbabwe and making it big on the international scene," he said.

Prince Edward School Head of Sport Tawanda Jimu said: "This is an awesome experience for the boys and the school to host the Emirates FA Cup trophy and Kanu. We are so happy that Emirates has given us this opportunity."


The Prince Edward High School football team with soccer legend Nwankwo Kanu and the Emirates FA Cup during a coaching clinic.

His sentiments were echoed by Churchill High School Head of Sport Paul Kaunda, who said: "Kanu is a role model and the demonstration we have seen live help the boys to appreciate that they were seeing it as it is. There was an application of sports science which was brilliant."

This was the second tour of Africa the Emirates FA Cup is making. In 2016, the trophy made its maiden tour of Africa with stop-overs in Ghana and Kenya.

Emirates became the title sponsor of the Emirates FA Cup the 2015/16 season as part of a three-year sponsorship deal with England's Football Association.

The airline flies once a day from Harare International Airport to Dubai, providing travellers with convenient access to more than 150 destinations around the world.

To book, or for more information on fares, terms and conditions, please visit www.emirates.com/zw or visit the local Emirates office at Wakefield Road, Avondale, Harare, or your travel agent.


- Agencies

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