Mamelodi Sundowns have given final confirmation that they take on La Liga giants Barcelona at the FNB Stadium on May 16th as part of the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations.
The game is set to take place at the FNB Stadium with kick-off at 6pm CAT (SA, GMT+2) and this will be second time Sundowns have hosted Barcelona in South Africa; in 2007, the LaLiga outfit recorded a 2-1 win.
Although Sundowns president Dr Patrice Motsepe had originally announced the match last week, there had first been talk of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) not giving the green light for the event (as it falls within the domestic season), while there was also no official announcement from Barcelona.
But the PSL released a statement to give the match the thumbs-up, and Sundowns then announced at a press conference on Thursday that the game will definitely be taking place.
A media release from the club stated: “Mamelodi Sundowns and the Motsepe Foundation are partnering with the Inter-Ministerial committee of the South African government that is responsible for the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, SAFA and La Liga.
“Mamelodi Sundowns is grateful to the PSL for having approved the match and to CAF for having moved the Mamelodi Sundowns match against Horoya AC in Guinea Conkary.”
Said Dr Motsepe: “Mamelodi Sundowns and the Motsepe Foundation are honoured to play a humble role in the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations in honour of our icon, Dr Nelson Mandela, who was respected and inspired people throughout the world. Dr Mandela often referred to the power of sports and football to unite people from different races and backgrounds.”
La Liga president Javier Tebas also confirmed the game: “We are delighted that FC Barcelona, the champions of the best competition in the world, will be playing in South Africa. This is a historic event and we are very proud that local fans will get to enjoy the stars and the quality of La Liga close up.”
“FC Barcelona has always professed its admiration for Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest figures of the 20th century, who after 27 years in prison went on to become the first democratically elected president of post-apartheid South Africa from 1994 to 1999,” said a statement on the club’s website.
“Mandela represented the struggle for freedom and equality in the country, and played a huge role in unifying the racially divided society. It is precisely this kind of spirit with which FC Barcelona has always been identified.”
Stadium Management South Africa boss Jacques Grobbelaar posted a statement on Twitter on Wednesday, saying that tickets will go on sale on Thursday morning, with prices ranging from R40 to R550.