NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 20 – Retired Malian striker Frédéric Kanouté will tour Kenya this weekend where he will grace the live screening of the El Clasico pitting rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona on Saturday at Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens.
Now a LaLiga ambassador, Kanouté, who made history in 2007 when he became the first footballer born outside the continent to be crowned the African Footballer of the Year, will arrive in the country on Thursday evening for his visit in Kenya.
Kanouté, a Sevilla FC legend, will be in the country courtesy of global gaming brand SportPesa and LaLiga.
He will be the star attraction during the formal launch of their partnership on Saturday from 3pm local time (+3GMT) during the live viewing of the El Classico pitting bitter rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona at Uhuru Nairobi’s Gardens.
The momentous occasion will give Kenyan football fans the chance to witness for the first time the state-of-art SportPesa display screening truck that landed in the country recently from the United Kingdom.
“We are delighted to welcome Kanouté, a modern legend of the game to Kenya for the launch of the LaLiga Experience in Kenya. His career progression is an ideal example of SportPesa’s football development mission we have for Kenya,” SportPesa Chief Marketing Officer, Joyce Kibe, announced.
“Freddie was born in a tiny village in France and went on to play at the highest level in LaLiga and England, opting to represent his nation of heritage in international football, the tiny country of Mali where he inspired the nation to their most successful years in international football,” Kibe added.
“Having such an icon to formally launch our partnership with LaLiga that was signed eight months ago where football fans will get a first opportunity to witness a revolution in live game viewing in Kenya is another key milestone in what has been a wonderful year for SportPesa,” the marketing chief noted.
Kanouté is due to watch the 2017 Koth Biro round of 16 clash between Umeme Bees FC and Opitos FC on Friday evening, where both teams will have coaches from LaLiga on either dugout, as part of the effort to promote grassroots football at the Ziwani Sports Grounds in Nairobi.
The LaLiga coaches- Carlos De Las Heras Sanchez-Tembleque and Jose Ignacio Sanchez Becerra- arrived in Kenya on Tuesday night for training sessions with both sides, with Umeme going first on Wednesday and Opitos a day later.
Players drawn from various parts of the country under the Tujiamini campaign by the gaming giants will also take part in the coaching clinic to learn the skills that gave Spain world famous players such as Kanouté who won the UEFA Cup twice with Sevilla in 2006 and 2007, that marked the start of a golden age at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Besides the UEFA Cup glory, the forward who played six times for the France Under 21s, scoring once for them, also collected the UEFA Super Cup (2006), Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup) twice (2007 and 2010) and the Supercopa de Espana (Spanish Super Cup/2007) titles at Sevilla.
Kanouté had successful stints at French giants, Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon) and English Premier League sides, West Ham United FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC in a career celebrated for his silky skills and classy goals.
The retired forward led Mali to the semi-finals of the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Tunisia against all odds, having famously beaten Kenya Harambee Stars 3-1 in the group stages of the competition in a tournament where he scored four goals.
Kanouté,-born to a Malian father and French mother- retired from international football in 2010 when Mali were eliminated from the AFCON having won the hearts of his chosen nation.