Colombia Farc rebels to play Valderrama peace match

Colombia's former footballer Carlos Valderrama Carlos Valderrama was recently given the Golden Foot award in Monte Carlo

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Colombia's biggest rebel group, Farc, has accepted a challenge from national football great Carlos Valderrama to play a match for peace.

Valderrama, a former Colombia team captain also known for his golden Afro hairdo, has joined a state programme to support victims of the armed conflict.

In an open letter, the left-wing rebels said they were happy to play matches that helped foster reconciliation.

The first leg would be played in Cuba, where the Farc is holding peace talks.

In their letter, published on the rebels' negotiating team blog, the Farc admitted they were "fanatical about football" and suggested a second match in Colombia and a parallel women's contest.

Carlos Valderrama at the 1998 World Cup in France Carlos Valderrama played for Colombia 111 times, retiring in 2004
'Merry games'

"The members of our fronts and companies organise merry, informal games in which dribbles, overhead and scorpion kicks and goal saves camouflage themselves into the colours of the mountains," an online letter reads.

The rebels also say they frequently play football in between negotiation sessions and are ready to take part in games as soon as possible.

In their open letter, they suggest Valderrama should call on other Colombian legends, such as goalkeeper Renee Higuita – famed for his extravagant saves and scorpion kick.

Valderrama played for his country on 111 occasions and starred in the 1998 World Cup in France. He has also been given a Golden Foot award in Monte Carlo.

But he recently became involved in controversy when Colombia's governing party declared him a Senate candidate for next year's elections. The former midfielder adamantly denied being a candidate next day.

Farc rebel leaders are currently participating in a new round of peace negotiations with the Colombian government, after recently agreeing on the second part of their six-point agenda.

Both sides have so far partially agreed on land reform and on a political future for the left-wing group if a peace deal is reached.

The latest round of talks is due to tackle illicit drugs and drug trafficking.

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