Sun, Jun

Brazil's Fifa 2002 World Cup winner Cafu signs a Brazil jersey at the Piarco International Airport on May 9 ahead of the Legends of football match at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on May 10. - Photo by Jeff K Mayers

BRAZIL'S 2002 Fifa World Cup winners Cafu, Edmilson and 1999 Ballon D'or winner Rivaldo have arrived in Trinidad ahead of the Legends All-Star match, on May 10, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

Rivaldo arrived at the Piarco International Airport on May 8, while Cafu and Edmilson touched down just after 2 pm on May 9, before being treated to a brief welcome ceremony at the airport's VIP lounge. Kaka, the 2007 Ballon D'or winner, was expected to arrive in Trinidad and Tobago early in the morning on May 10.

The match which will kick off at 8 pm, is being organised by the Russell Latapy Education and Sports Foundation and I95.5FM. It will feature a host of former T&T international players, including members of the Soca Warriors team which made a historic appearance at the 2006 World Cup.

Speaking to the media via a translator, both Cafu and Edmilson expressed their delight with the opportunity to play before the T&T public. Cafu, who captained Brazil to victory at the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan – the country's last World Cup title – urged youngsters to find the balance between education and sport.

"Stay in school. Obviously, education is the most important thing," the former AC Milan and AS Roma right back said.

"And from there, everything else will go well. You just need to have discipline and just educate yourself and always have your morals."

The former Champions League winner still possesses an impressive physique, and his competitive edge hasn't been lost ahead of the legends match which will be played in three 30-minute thirds.

"You can expect a lot of goals and a lot of fun. I hope everyone has fun."

I95.5 president Anthony Lee Aping said they were relieved to have the Brazilian legends on T&T shores after numerous attempts to host the match.

"I'm really happy to be here to say that this is a culmination of a year and a half of quiet work behind the scenes," Aping said. "We had this game planned about three times. Finally, the legends are here."

The Brazilian quartet will be rubbing shoulders with some of the finest players to don the red, white and black across several generations.

Aside from the "Little Magician" Russell Latapy, the lengthy list of players set to feature includes former captains Khaleem Hyland, Kenwayne Jones, Kevin Molino, Clayton Morris, Densill Theobald and former Manchester United Champions League winner Dwight Yorke. Marvin Andrews, Carlos Edwards, Cornell Glen, Cyd Gray and Kelvin Jack, all members of the Soca Warriors 2006 team, are also set to feature.

Theobald said he was privileged to be considered for the legends match, and he believes the next generation of footballers can learn a thing or two from the varying players on display today.

"I look forward to embracing my teammates again on the football pitch and I know the fans can look forward to a nice entertaining brand of football," Theobald said.

"I know we're much older than before so the intensity and energy will not be there like it once was 15 years ago. But definitely, footballing intelligence and technique doesn't leave you.

"Events or moments like these are once in a lifetime moments, especially for the upcoming generation and the young footballing fans. (They should) come out and learn and see the football history that's so rich in our country on display."


Brazilian star Rivaldo fit for legends match.
By Jelani Beckles (T&T Newsday).

BRAZILIAN football legend Rivaldo, 52, seems fit and ready for the legends football match, which will feature other Brazilian stars and T&T stalwarts.

The match will be played at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo on Friday at 8 pm.

The initiative is being organised by former T&T midfield star Russell Latapy, through his­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Russell Latapy Education and Sports Foundation. Media house I95.5FM is also supporting the match.

Rivaldo was a popular footballer during his professional days, with most people remembering him during his time at FC Barcelona from 1997-2002. The midfielder also won the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Brazil alongside other legends Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.

"I am so happy to be here to be invited for the game," Rivaldo told the media when he arrived at the Piarco International Airport on Wednesday night.

Speaking through a translator, Rivaldo said, "I hope that it is going to be a very good party for me, for Cafu, for Kaka and Edmilson." Cafu, Kaka and Edmilson also lifted the 2002 World Cup trophy with Brazil.

The former midfield maestro still looks slim like he did during his professional career. Rivaldo said he maintains a healthy diet, saying, "After I stopped playing I started taking care of my health. I eat a lot of fish, a lot of vegetables."

Other former T&T players expected to play are former Soca Warriors players Dwight Yorke, Carlos Edwards, Stern John, Brent Sancho, Kelvin Jack and Densill Theobald. Former Strike Squad members Leonson Lewis, Brian Williams, Hutson Charles are also expected to take the field.

"I am so happy for the organisation that they did this game because this is really important for the country."

Rivaldo said he only knows a "little bit" of the T&T culture.