Bafana host Egypt in Man­dela Chal­lenge

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

BAFANA Bafana will play The Pharaohs of Egypt in the 22nd Edi­tion of the Nel­son Man­dela Chal­lenge at Or­lando Sta­dium in Soweto on Tues­day, Septem­ber 6, 2016. The match kicks off at 19:00.

The clash comes just three days af­ter South Africa rounds off their 2017 Gabon African Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fiers against Mau­ri­ta­nia.

This will be the third time Egypt and South Africa meet in the an­nual Nel­son Man­dela Chal­lenge.

The two na­tions locked horns for the first time in the 5th Edi­tion played at FNB Sta­dium on 16 De­cem­ber, 1998. The hosts won 2-1. The two African giants met again on 15 Novem­ber 2006, this time on neu­tral ground in Brent­fort, Lon­don in Eng­land.

The North Africans emerged 1-0 win­ners in the 12th Edi­tion.

The an­nual event is one of the ways used to con­tinue the legacy of the late State Pres­i­dent Nel­son Rolih­lahla Man­dela, also known as The Fa­ther of the Na­tion, with pro­ceeds go­ing to aid needy chil­dren.

The South African Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) has once again stuck to its promise of bring­ing only the top sides for this pres­ti­gious tour­na­ment. Egypt is ranked 43rd in the world and 5th on the con­ti­nent, be­hind Al­ge­ria, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Sene­gal.

In 2015 Bafana Bafana re­tained the tro­phy when they de­feated Sene­gal at the Or­lando Sta­dium in Soweto in Septem­ber with debu­tant Mpho Makola’s goal.

South Africa has won the Nel­son Man­dela Chal­lenge nine times and has in the past hosted the likes of Ar­gentina, Brazil, The Nether­lands, USA, Nige­ria, Ghana, Cameroon, Sene­gal, Zam­bia among oth­ers.

The 2016 Edi­tion comes at a time when Bafana Bafana pre­pare for the 2018 Rus­sia Fifa World Cup qual­i­fiers where Shakes Mashaba’s men will face Burk­ina Faso in the first match.

“The clash against Egypt could not have come at such an im­por­tant time on our foot­ball calendar. We will use this match and the one be­fore it against Mau­ri­ta­nia to fine tune the team for the up­com­ing Fifa World Cup qual­i­fier against Burk­ina Faso. Egypt have al­ways been tough cus­tomers and they will help us to pre­pare well, be­cause I said af­ter the WC draw that if we don’t pre­pare well we will not go to Rus­sia, so this match has come at an op­por­tune time for us,” said Bafana Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba.

Safa Pres­i­dent, Dr Danny Jor­daan said it was im­por­tant that Bafana Bafana ac­quire all the help they can get ahead of the World Cup qual­i­fiers.

“For us it was a no-brainer when we were pre­sented with the prospect of play­ing against Egypt, we did not hes­i­tate for two main rea­sons.

“Firstly, this is one of the top five na­tions on the con­ti­nent and in the top 50 in the world, so for our team to grow they need to face such op­po­si­tion and it will be part of prepa­ra­tions for the Fifa World Cup qual­i­fiers for Rus­sia. We have said be­fore that this team needs to qual­ify for ma­jor tour­na­ments to be counted among the best — which is in cor­ner­stone of Vi­sion 2022,” said Dr Jor­daan.

“Se­condly, this match is played in hon­our of a great states­man and to raise funds for a good c aus e, so it was im­por­tant that we bring an equally big op­po­si­tion to help us in this ven­ture.”

Tickets are sell­ing for R80 through­out the sta­dium and can be pur­chased at Com­puticket out­lets, Shoprite and Check­ers stores through­out the coun­try. — su­per­

Dr Danny Jor­daan

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