Red-letter day for Liverpool fan

Leshern Naidoo during his 2014 trip to Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium in the UK, before it was revamped. | Supplied

Leshern Naidoo during his 2014 trip to Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium in the UK, before it was revamped. | Supplied

Published Apr 7, 2024


Durban — With the luck of the draw bouncing his way, a diehard sports fan from Isipingo, south of Durban, will add to the cacophony of sound when 74000 football fans gather at the Old Trafford Stadium for Manchester United’s clash with arch-enemies Liverpool this afternoon.

Leshern Naidoo won a five-night stay in the UK, courtesy of a score predictor competition hosted by SunBet, which includes a hospitality suite seat at this English Premiership fixture.

Naidoo, who is mad about all things Liverpool, enjoyed a tour of his favourite team’s Anfield home ground and sightseeing in the city on Saturday.

On Monday he will get to spend much of the day at an equestrian estate owned by one of his yesteryear heroes, Michael Owen, who was a prolific Liverpool goalscorer and also did a stint with United.

Leshern Naidoo landed an all-expenses-paid trip to the UK to watch today’s epic Manchester United versus Liverpool English Premiership match at Old Trafford. | Khaya Ngwenya

Having arrived in England on Friday, the highlight for Naidoo was lunch in Stratford-upon-Avon, the 16th-century birthplace of writer William Shakespeare.

“This entire experience will remain in my memory bank forever,” he said.

He regards this red-letter day duel as the “ultimate fixture to watch”.

“This is one of the biggest fixtures in sport, with a rivalry that dates back many years.

“Although it’s not being played in the ground I wanted it to be at, I’m confident the result will go Liverpool's way, which will make the occasion even sweeter,” was Naidoo’s bold prediction.

He said he loved that United had been struggling to find good form for more than a decade.

“It's good to laugh at Man United fans. They are in denial and nowhere near the top.” Naidoo, who works in the tourism industry, credits Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for all their success in recent years.

“It will be sad to see Klopp leaving at the end of the season. Watching him lead the team and seeing Mohamed Salah in action will be the big attractions for me.”

Naidoo is also enthused about Monday’s interaction with Owen.

Leshern Naidoo near the Bill Shankly monument during his previous visit to Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium in 2014.

“I’m eager to ask him about his interactions with some of the old Liverpool players.”

This is not Naidoo’s first overseas football odyssey. In 2014 he got to see Barcelona play Ajax Amsterdam in a Champions League match at the Camp Nou (Spain) and Liverpool hosting Real Madrid the next day.

“It was an awesome trip for me and my brother Trishern. First, we saw Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona and then Steven Gerrard for Liverpool.”

Naidoo said there were generations of Liverpool supporters in his sport-loving family.

“My father Natty has been following them from the 1970s. My dad used to listen to the radio and read imported magazines to keep up with the team’s progress. Nowadays, the internet keeps us connected to every Liverpool happening,” Naidoo said.

Sunday Tribune