rostov-on-don: Brazil's 2002 World Cup-winning team will play a friendly next month in the formerly wartorn Russian province of Chechnya, a local official said on Wednesday.
Chechnya's government website cited sports minister Haidar Alkhanov as saying Kaka, Ronaldinho and the recently retired Ronaldo are likely to feature in the March 10 match. Chechnya president Ramzan Kadyrov will captain a team comprising local players.
There was no word of confirmation from Brazilian officials, but if the match goes ahead it will be the third major football coup in a month for Russia's poverty-stricken Caucasus region, which is better known for separatist violence than sport.
Earlier this month, former Dutch midfielder Ruud Gullit agreed to coach Kadyrov's team, Terek Grozny, and veteran Brazilian left back Roberto Carlos left Corinthians to join Anzhi Makhachkala in neighboring Dagestan.
"This will be a powerful stimulus for Terek players and a huge present for Chechen supporters," the site quoted Alkhanov as saying.
It is unclear how much the Brazilian team is to be paid for its appearance, but when it comes to raising national prestige through sport, money has been no object. The value of Gullit's 18-month contract has not been disclosed but is thought to be around $5 million per year. Roberto Carlos' reported two-year deal with Anzhi is worth $9 million per year.
Alkhanov said Gullit promised to use his connections to persuade as many Brazil players to come to Chechnya as possible for the friendly.
Following two separatist wars in the last 15 years, Chechnya now has a semblence of stability. However, attacks by lingering Islamist insurgents still occur.