Soccer

Man United fever hits SA

2012-07-17 07:45
Alex Ferguson (AFP)

Johannesburg - Manchester United fever is sweeping South Africa with tickets selling fast for a two-match tour despite the absence of England star Wayne Rooney and many other first choices.

The Rio Ferdinand-skippered Red Devils were scheduled to arrive in Durban late on Monday ahead of a midweek friendly with AmaZulu and another against Ajax Cape Town this weekend.

Rooney, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Danny Welbeck (England), Patrice Evra (France) and Nani (Portugal) are resting after starting their close-season breaks late because of Euro 2012 commitments.

Veteran Ryan Giggs and Tom Cleverly (Great Britain) and David De Gea (Spain) are also absent as they prepare for the football tournament at the London Olympic Games.

Injuries and sickness rule out Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Darren Fletcher, leaving legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson with just a few instantly recognisable names like Ferdinand, Paul Scholes and Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez on tour.

The lack of many first-choice Red Devils has had no effect at the box office with the organisers saying only a few thousand higher-price tickets are available for the AmaZulu match at Moses Mabhida Stadium Wednesday.

A spokesperson said all 11 000 tickets for a Tuesday training session have also been snapped up in a country where English Premier League football enjoys a passionate following with many games broadcast live.

Before leaving England centre-back Ferdinand dismissed suggestions that depleted United might struggle: "We do not want to lose a game - it is as simple as that. At United we want to win every game."

A lot of attention will focus on major close-season signing Shinji Kagawa from Japan, who arrived at Old Trafford last month after several successful seasons with Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, who he helped win the domestic double last season and the title the season before.

South Africa-born former United goalkeeper Gary Bailey, who analyses Premier League matches for the Johannesburg-based SuperSport channel, is not surprised by the buzz surrounding the visit.

"The country always becomes very excited when United come on a pre-season tour," Bailey told the Manchester club website. "There is a sense of pride about the club.

"The AmaZulu game is on Nelson Mandela Day, which is an enormous day on the South African calendar. It is great that United are playing on such a special day."

Mandela, the first democratically elected president of South Africa, turns 94 Wednesday. He used to attend major football fixtures, but frail health has prevented him doing so for some time.

AmaZulu are the most popular South African Premiership club in Durban with Swede Roger Palmgren the coach and Zimbabwe goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini the captain of a side that finished seventh in the 16-club national league last season.

After facing Ajax Saturday at Cape Town Stadium, United head for China and a game against Shanghai Shenhua before returning to Europe for warm-ups fixtures with Valerenga in Olso, Barcelona in Gothenburg and Hanover 96 in Germany.

Read more on:    manchester united  |  alex ferguson  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
20 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Your Winter Body Weight Workout

Cold weather does not mean you have to slack off on your workouts, here are some tips to stay fit in the winter.

 
 

Outdoor

The perks of power walking
Best ‘glamping' spots in the Western Cape
6 hiking routes you have to try
South African woman learns to surf at age 70
 
 
/Sport
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

SuperBru Super Rugby challenge

Enter and challenge Sport24's staff!

Featured

As the Absa Premiership nears the Christmas break, a little over half the season remains. Who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Which teams will be relegated? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Who was the best summer signing in the EPL?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.