International footballing family to descend on Australia for bushfire relief

Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba will be one of the stars on show.

Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba will be one of the stars on show. Photo: Getty

A cavalcade of international footballing legends have been confirmed to be headed to Sydney to take part in a charity match aimed at ensuring continued international awareness and funds for those affected by the unprecedented bushfires gripping Australia.

Branded as #FootballForFires, the event is set to be staged at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on Saturday, May 23 –the same day as the English FA Cup final.

The brainchild of Australian player agent Lou Sticca – the man responsible for bringing Alessandro Del Piero to Sydney FC – players already confirmed for the contest include the likes of Didier Drogba, Dwight Yorke, Park Ji-Sung, David Trezeguet, Emile Heskey and Geremi.

Australian footballing luminaries such as 2005 World Cup qualifying penalty shootout hero John Aloisi, Fox Sports pundit Mark Bosnich, FIFPro Deputy Secretary-General Simon Colosimo and NSL legend Con Boutsianis are also set to lace up the boots.

In total, more than 1200 international caps combined are already confirmed to be taking part, with the participants’ resumes including stints at iconic clubs such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Juventus, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Milan.

With a crowd of 85,000 targeted for the event, money raised from ticket sales and merchandise has been earmarked for communities that have lost their homes, properties and their football clubs and facilities throughout Australia.

Funds are also set to be raised through donations to a Red Cross appeal set up for the game.

Organisers have signalled their intention to provide free tickets to those that have been affected by the bushfires and/or part of the firefighting efforts.

Participants already confirmed:

Didier Drogba – 105 caps for Ivory Coast – Former Chelsea, Galatasaray and Montreal Impact
David Trezeguet – 71 caps for France – Former Monaco, Juventus and River Plate
Dwight Yorke – 74 caps for Trinidad and Tobago – Former Manchester United, Aston Villa and Sydney FC
Claudio Marchisio – 55 caps for Italy – Former Juventus
Dario Simic – 100 caps for Croatia – Former Inter Milan, AC Milan, Dinamo Zagreb and Monaco
John Aloisi – 55 caps for Australia – Former Coventry City, Cremonese, Osasuna and Sydney FC
Dwayne De Rosario – 81 caps for Canada – Former Toronto, San Jose and New York Red Bulls
Park Ji-Sung – 100 caps for South Korea – Former Manchester United and PSV Eindhoven
Simon Colosimo – 26 caps for Australia – Former Carlton SC, Manchester City, Perth Glory and Sydney FC
Tore Andre Flo – 76 caps for Norway – Former Chelsea, Rangers, Sunderland and Leeds United
Alecko Eskandarian – 1 cap for the United States – Former DC United, Toronto FC, Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA
Mark Bosnich – 17 caps for Australia – Former Aston Villa, Manchester United, Chelsea
Con Boutsianis – 4 caps for Australia – Former South Melbourne, Heidelberg United and Perth Glory
Pedro Mendes – 11 caps for Portugal – Former Porto, Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth and Rangers
Le Cong Vinh – 83 caps for Vietnam – Former Song Lam Nghe An and Consadole Sapporo
Emile Heskey – 62 caps for England – Former Leicester City, Liverpool and Aston Villa
Michael Bridges – Former Sunderland, Leeds United and Newcastle Jets
Geremi – 118 caps for Cameroon – Former Real Madrid, Chelsea, Middlesbrough and Newcastle United
Stephen Appiah – 67 caps for Ghana – Former Fenerbahce, Udinese, Juventus and Vojvodina
Rustu Recber – 120 caps for Turkey – Former Fenerbahce, Barcelona, Besiktas and Antalyaspor.

Topics: Bushfires
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