Brazil football superstar Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, popularly known as Ronaldinho Gaucho on Saturday thrilled hundreds of residents in Kisumu with a taste of his moves, when he graced a mini-football tournament in the lakeside city.
The ex-Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris Saint Germain star was the chief of guest at the Betika-Ronaldinho Kenya Tour tournament that involved Kenya Premier League side Vihiga United, second tier outfits Kisumu All-Stars and Eldoret Youth and minnows Bondo United which was held at Moi Stadium.
After opening a Betika shop in Kisumu, Ronaldinho paid a courtesy call on Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathews Owili, before going to the stadium where he received a rousing welcome from eager supporters who had camped at the facility since morning, waiting to have a glimpse of one of the greatest footballers in history of the sport.
The celebrated ex-Brazilian footballer didn't stay for long at the stadium was short, leaving his supporters who had hopes of interacting and perhaps taking pictures with him disappointed.
But for Ivy Chepkirui of Nyakach Girls High School, it is a day she will remember forever.
While most of her peers and other curious fans were kept at bay by the security officers, the 16-year-old got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play with Ronaldinho.
It is during the kick-about that the ex-Brazilian would awaken to his supporters’ memories of his dazzling moves during his career spanning 17 years.
After doing a few moves, Chepkiruyi sent the ball to the Betika brand ambassador who juggled it with the right boot and beautifully flicked the ball with his heel, before sending back a clever pass to the form one student, leaving the spectators yearning for more.
He then proceeded to the podium to award Vihiga United players, who emerged winners in the mini-tournament after edging-out Kisumu All Stars 1-0 in an entertaining final, with medals.
Following their victory, Vihiga walked away with Sh200,000 while All-Stars received Sh100,000. Eldoret Youth beat Bondo United 1-0 to finish third in the competition.
Speaking to Nation Sport, Chepkirui said she was happy to have interacted with one the all time greats.
“This has made my day because I never expected it. It is a day to remember because Ronaldino is a big name,” beamed the form one student.
Ronaldinho will on Sunday watch the Super 8 Champions League final at Camp Toyoyo grounds in Nairobi’s Jericho Estate, and line-up alongside Kenyan legends in a football match against KPL side Sofapaka at the KCB grounds in Ruaraka.