Messi watches digital’s big day

Robson Sharuko

Editor

LIONEL Messi had a ringside seat as Vitalis “Digital” Takawira was honoured on Saturday on a special occasion for Major League Soccer side Sporting Kansas City.

Takawira is one of the finest football forwards to emerge in this country.

He was joined by his family as Sporting Kansas City celebrated the 28th anniversary of the club’s inagural match in the MLS on April 13, 1996.

The franchise couldn’t have asked for better guests with Messi in town with his Inter Miami for an MLS regular season match at Arrowhead Stadium.

David Beckham’s franchise won the match, edging Sporting Kansas City 3-2 with Messi and Luis Suarez scoring the decisive second half goals.

Takawira’s teammates in that match in ‘96, Sean Bowers, Diego Gutierrez and Matt McKeon, were also invited the mark the momentous occasion.

The former Dynamos forward struck twce, against the Colorado Rapids in a 3-0 win and, with his Digital Crawl, became an instant folk hero among the fans.

“Dreadlocked striker Digital Takawira wasted no time becoming a folk hero, bagging a brace,” the club noted on their website.

And, Takawira explained how he got his famous nickname.

“It came from my first club team, Dynamos, in Zimbabwe. When you graduate to the first team, the supporters give you a nickname.

“It was they who gave me that name. Perhaps because they thought I was so quick and controlled the ball, like something digital, like a computer or camera.”

There were 21 000 fans at Arrowhead Stadium that day in ‘96.

“The announced attendance of 21,141 stood as a club record until May 4, 2002. To this day, the inaugural match remains the second-largest home opener crowd in club history behind 2003.”

And, Takawira will forever be a big part of that history.

On Saturday, his family was there to see that he is still such a huge box office attraction among the fans.

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