Cape Town – The likelihood of Newcastle United, surprise
packages of the 2011/12 English Premiership, playing in South Africa next month
appears to be receding.
Sport24 understands that the Vodacom Challenge – reportedly
intended to feature customary South African giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando
Pirates plus Newcastle and TP Mazembe of the DRC this year – is in jeopardy.
Newcastle would have been a decent lure for the pre-season
event, given that they ended fifth in the Premiership last season and qualified
for a Europa League place.
It has been several weeks, though, since rumours first
swirled that they were coming, with confirmation lacking.
Some Newcastle-related websites or blogs are now linking the
club to an Algarve Tournament, believed to be scheduled at roughly the same
time in late July – the Magpies may play Greek champions Olympiakos on July 27.
Premiership runners-up Manchester United, meanwhile, are
thought to be still on track for a pres-season tour involving both South Africa
– venues likely to be Durban and Cape Town – and China.
PSL sides AmaZulu and Ajax Cape Town will provide the
respective opposition here.