Reds in good spirits before Legends tie

2013-11-14 00:00

THE Liverpool Legends have arrived in Durban. The 18 players, all looking a little tired after a long flight, touched down at King Shaka International Airport yesterday ahead of their exhibition match against the Kaizer Chiefs Legends at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 2 pm, and it was confirmed yesterday that around 25 000 of the allocated 28 000 tickets had already been sold.

Amongst the Reds were greats such as John Barnes, Gary McAllister, Phil Neil, Jason McAteer, Roy Evans, Robbie Fowler and controversial goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar.

Durban-born Grobbelaar (56) was accused of match fixing in 1994 while at Liverpool, before being cleared in 1997 following a series of trials.

Capped 32 times by Zimbabwe, Grobbelaar now resides in Canada where he is playing and coaching at an amateur level.

“It’s always fantastic to be back in South Africa,” the three-time FA Cup winner told The Witness. “Just everything about this place is wonderful.”

The Legends were rushed off to make a pre-booked tee-off time at Zimbali Country Club in Ballito. Grobbelaar was preparing to use his home-ground advantage to get one over his team-mates with his +5 handicap.

“We’re used to wet and miserable weather, so when we get to come to a place like this it is important for us to play as much golf as we can,” joked legendary striker Fowler.

Now 38, Fowler is the youngest of the Legends.

“I haven’t been the youngest player in a team for quite some time,” said the man who scored 120 goals in 236 appearances for the Merseyside club. “None of us can run as much, but we all still play some good football and we want to do well.”

Fowler is on his second visit to SA after being a part of the 1992 Liverpool squad that toured the country and played games against Cape Town Spurs and Kaizer Chiefs, though he missed the “big one” against Chiefs.

He doesn’t remember too much from that tour, but he is very aware of how much South Africa has changed since those dark times.

“Obviously a lot has happened in a short time and it seems like a place where people are a lot happier now,” he said. “And that is what we want to do here: put smiles on people’s faces.”

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