Carlsberg Ultimate Football Retreat: BPL legends in Malaysia

Gianfranco Zola, Dennis Wise, Sol Campbell, Steve McManaman Malaysia Carlsberg Ultimate Football Challenge

Lucky Carlsberg consumers meet BPL football legends Sol Campbell, Steve McManaman, Gianfranco Zola and Dennis Wise

Last Saturday (22 Nov.) at AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort, Carlsberg rewarded over 300 of its consumers from Malaysia and Hong Kong to the once-in-a-lifetime Ultimate Football Retreat where they experienced an awesome-looking 2-day-1-night football weekend getaway with upclose and personal sessions with four Barclays Premier League (BPL, otherwise known as EPL the English Premier League) football legends — Sol Campbell, Steve McManaman, Gianfranco Zola and Dennis Wise. This was the prize of a promotion that was running from September to October.

Sol Campbell Malaysia yam seng cheers with fans at Carlsberg Ultimate Football Challenge

Sol Campbell, who was part of the unbeatable Arsenal side in the 2003 – 2004 BPL season before becoming one of the captains of the club and country, wasn’t the most talkative legend there but he did smile when he saw me coming in my Arsenal jersey. “I’m excited to enjoy the beautiful beaches and experience the warmth and friendliness of Malaysian football fans I have heard so much about,” he said during the press conference.

Gianfranco Zola, the former Italian forward who won the Football Writers’ Player of the Year during his days at Chelsea, was one of the most humble and friendly footballers I’ve met so far in my life. Like his former teammate Dennis Wise, a central midfielder who was one of the most successful captains for the Chelsea, and one of England’s best playmakers Steve McManaman, who had played for Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester City, it wasn’t his first time visiting Malaysia.

Gianfranco Zola, Dennis Wise, Henrik Andersen Managing Director of Carlsberg Malaysia, Ted Akiskalos Managing Director of Carlsberg Hong Kong, Steve McManaman and Sol Campbell at Carlsberg's 'Ultimate Football Retreat'

The lucky Carlsberg consumers got a meet-and-greet session with the legends for photos and autographs before continuing the afternoon for some really fun-looking football-related games such as ZigZag Football, Football Pong and Bubble Football. In the evening, they were treated to dinner with the legends before catching the live BPL matches. The legends then joined Adam C. and Abbas Saad to deliver pre-game, halftime and post-game shows as Astro Supersports BPL Weekend broadcasted live from the event itself. On top of all that, four luckiest ones there also won an all-expense paid trip to the UK to watch a BPL match live. It must’ve been a great experience for these lucky winners indeed.

Being the official beer of the BPL, Carlsberg have changed their marketing focus to football this year, which explains the sudden halt to the annual Where’s the Party? The local media weren’t invited to be there for the entire retreat but we got to be meet and greet the legends before the winners arrived. As an Arsenal supporter, I was extremely delighted to have had one of my older jerseys signed by Sol Campbell but pity I didn’t get to take a photo with him. Just days after this, the new jersey that I won from the Carlsberg Official BPL Trophy Tour in August finally arrived. Perfect timing, I could now retire the autographed jersey and start wearing this new one. And that calls for a Carlsberg for me.

Gianfranco Zola and Dennis Wise Carlsberg Ultimate Football Retreat Malaysia signing autographs Carlsberg BPL Kampa shirt

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Abbas Saad Hendrik Andersen

carlsberg consumers football fans avani sepang goldcoast resort ultimate football retreat group photo

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Sol Campbell autograph arsenal

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