SA champions Sundowns to host Barcelona later this month

SA champions Sundowns to host Barcelona later this month

Supporters of South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns

Barcelona are to travel to South Africa later this month for a friendly with newly crowned South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

The match will be played at Soccer City, on the outskirts of Johannesburg, on 16 May and it is the second time that Sundowns have brought the Spanish giants out for a friendly match.

The game will come just 24 hours after Sundowns play away in Conakry against Horoya in the second of their Group C matches in the African Champions League.

They will have to charter a plane to make sure they are back from Guinea in time for kick-off at Soccer City.

In 2007, Sundowns billionaire owner Patrice Motsepe was alleged to have paid close to U$1-million to bring Barcelona out for a one-off friendly, which the Catalan side won 2-1 after being a goal down at half-time.

Motsepe, a mining magnate and the brother-in-law of South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, attempted in the past to forge close links with Barcelona and used club legend Johan Cruyff as a sounding board at times.

It remains to be seen whether star names such as Lionel Messi will start the 16 May fixture, with the World Cup in Russia looming

It was Cruyff who recommended two former Barcelona stars - Hristo Stoichkov and Johan Neeskens - to coach Sundowns but neither had an impressive, nor lengthy, tenure with the Pretoria-based club.

"The plan was to make the announcement on Monday in Spain. Somehow it got into the public domain and there have been so many enquiries," Motsepe said on local radio as he confirmed the news.

"This is the year of the Nelson Mandela Centenary year. We have partnered with the Nelson Mandela Foundation."

It has been reported that part of the agreement for the fixture is that Barca will bring along their star names, such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, though with the World Cup in Russia looming, it remains to be seen how much time they will spend on the pitch.


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Source link : http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44016502
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Publish date : 2018-05-05 12:15:49
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