Manchester City heading for SA
City boss Mark Hughes (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Doubts as to whether the annual Vodacom Challenge pre-season tournament would be played this year because of the staging of the eight-nations Confederations Cup in South Africa in June were on Wednesday night allayed when organisers confirmed the presence of Manchester City as the visiting team alongside Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.
The City squad, however, would appear unlikely to feature Brazilian stars Robinho and Elano in South Africa as they will probably play in the Confederations Cup and would consequently require an off-season break from soccer in July.
Often referred in recent years as the poor relations to their more glamorous Manchester rivals, Manchester United, City have emerged as nothing of the sort after the purchase of the club by Middle East oil interests has reportedly made it the richest in the world.
The Confederations Cup is sure to dilute City's strength in South Africa, but the club is poised to go on another spending spree during the off-season and new signings might yet make an appearance in what will be the 10th Vodacom Challenge event.
And ironically, the competition was won by rivals Manchester United last year, with the current Premier League champions trouncing Kaizer Chiefs 4-0 in the final.