Johannesburg - The Springboks will have Madiba “in their hearts and on their sleeves” on Saturday as they plan to honour the former State President in an unique way.
According to the supersport.com Madiba_in_unique_way">website, the image of former State President Nelson Mandela will get a special place as both the Springboks and Argentina will have it emblazoned on their match day jerseys for the first time in history.
Normally only sponsors images are put onto the jerseys but the significance of Saturday’s ground-breaking Nelson Mandela Sports and Culture day at the FNB Stadium will see both sides introduce the image for the occasion.
Springbok team management confirmed the image will be on both jerseys as a fitting tribute to the former State president, with both teams playing with Madiba’s picture on their sleeves.
It will be the first time the Boks use an image like this on their jerseys but is also very fitting considering the former State President’s bond with rugby over the years, stretching back to 1995.
While the Boks have played once before with Madiba’s charity 46664 number on their sleeves, it has been confirmed that this will be a picture of Mandela on the jersey, although officials are mum on just which picture will be used.
Saturday’s sports day will see both national teams - rugby and soccer - face international opponents on the same day with Bafana Bafana taking on Burkina Faso, while the Boks face Argentina in the opening match of the Rugby Championship. The day will also see a Bafana legends team facing an Italian legends team while a concert will take place at the conclusion of the day.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers and 50-try star Bryan Habana feel that Saturday’s tribute will be a great day of sport, and have urged fans to snap up tickets. But with sporting following as diverse as the sporting codes itself, it will be interesting to see if the day works as well as all parties want it to.
De Villiers said: “Madiba is such an inspiration for all the people in South Africa and he always showed great support for us as sportspeople. I therefore appeal to Springbok fans to unite and to lead the way in showing South Africa’s admiration and gratitude to Madiba by packing out the FNB Stadium on Saturday, August 17.”
According to Habana it will be fantastic to see the huge stadium filled with fans wearing Green and Gold, supporting both a unique sporting occasion, the Springboks and Madiba.
“The match against the Pumas is of huge importance for the Boks because the team wants to kick off The Rugby Championship on a good note in front of our passionate fans,” said Habana.
“I would therefore urge Bok fans to move quickly and snap up the tickets to this special occasion.”
The Rugby Championship match will kick off at 17:00 with Bafana Bafana taking the field at 13:30. A Legends soccer match between teams from South Africa and Italy will kick off the day’s proceedings at 11:00.
Tickets for the day - which concludes with a music festival following the Springbok Test - are priced from R220 and fans can buy them at any Computicket outlet or online at www.computicket.com.
All tickets offer reserved seating and are available in the following price categories: R220, R350, R450 and R550.