The drought in this area has already caused devastation and was officially declared a famine in two regions of Somalia by the United Nations on Wednesday 20th July 2011.
The Celtic Charity Fund has taken the decision to make Oxfam’s East Africa Famine Appeal the event’s main charitable beneficiary. With ITV broadcasting the match live from Celtic Park, stars from football and entertainment will be out in force at Celtic Park to back the campaign.
Judith Robertson, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said: "East Africa is facing the worst food crisis seen anywhere in the world for many years – almost 12 million people are at risk right now. Oxfam is there, and we’re already making a huge difference, but we need fans of Celtic, Manchester United and football fans across the world to rally together and help us to do even more.
“The Legends Celtic vs. Manchester United match is going to be an incredible night, and it’s fantastic to see so many players – past and present – and famous fans getting involved. Thanks to them, and the support of the fans, every minute of the match will help us raise money to save lives across Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.”
Legends of both clubs and the entertainment world will be taking part in the match. Already confirmed are players such as Henrik Larsson, Chris Sutton, Dwight Yorke, Gordon Strachan, Patrick Kielty, Richard Ashcroft, Ricky Hatton, Nigel Benn, Angus Deayton, Ricky Whittle and Nicky Byrne. Billy Connolly, the Patron of the Celtic Foundation, will be at Celtic Park on the night, and a host of other confirmed as lending support to the event and the fundraising effort are Wayne Rooney, Rod Stewart, Eddie Jordan, Sharleen Spiteri, Dougray Scott and Paolo Nutini.
The line up has swelled further this week with the addition of Manchester United hero Roy Keane. For Keane – who made 326 appearances for Man U scoring 33 goals – the return to Celtic Park will bring back memories of his final season as a player. He returns to Celtic on the eve of his 40th birthday and will surely be looking for a victory to put the icing on his celebrations. The former Ireland international played 10 times for Celtic FC in the 2005/2006 season before retiring on medical grounds.
Truly deserving of his place in The Legends, Alex Ferguson has said of Keane: “Over the years when they start picking the best teams of all time, he will be in there.”
Exec producer Lester Holcombe said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have secured Roy to play. For many of the fans he’s the greatest midfielder that Man U ever had. He never took any prisoners and we’re fully expecting him to bring that same competitive edge to this game.”
Celtic manager Neil Lennon said: "This is a great cause and one we should all support. The charitable spirit and generosity of our supporters is well known and we’re sure our fans will once again lend their backing to support the many thousands of people in Africa who need our help.
“The images from Africa which we are seeing daily are heart-breaking and this is a cause everyone at the Club is fully behind. It’s fantastic that so many people are committing their time and support to this event. We’re sure the evening will be a great success and we look forward to welcoming as many supporters as possible.
Peter Lawwell, chief executive of the club, said: “We will be hoping to do all we can to raise as much as possible for this cause. We thank everyone involved taking part and all our fans for their support as we aim to make a difference.”
The match is the 9th game produced by the Legends for live broadcast in the UK and internationally. These matches have raised hundreds of thousands for charity and are watched by millions of people worldwide.
The match takes place on August 9 at Celtic Park in Glasgow. Tickets are now on general sale priced £10 Adult and £5 Concession. Call 0871 226 1888 or visit the Celtic Ticket Office.