South-Africa

Barca set for second SA trip

2018-05-06 12:30
Lionel Messi (AP)

Johannesburg - Spanish giants Barcelona are expected to confirm their trip to South Africa after tonight’s El Clásico.

The newly crowned La Liga champions will meet South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns in a game dubbed “Champion vs Champion” at the FNB Stadium on May 16.

There were question marks over the timing of the game as Barcelona will play their final league game against Real Sociedad three days after this friendly.

But City Press can reveal Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe and Safa president Danny Jordaan are guests at tonight’s clash against Real Madrid – at Camp Nou – to finalise the deal.

Sundowns have already rescheduled their CAF Champions League match against Guinea’s Horoya AC. The match was initially scheduled for Tuesday, May 15, but has been moved to the same weekend to accommodate the Barcelona friendly.

Eight-time Absa Premiership winners Sundowns announced on their Twitter account on Friday night that they will host Barca – who clinched their 25th La Liga title last week.

The announcement was met with excitement from South African football followers, who are expected to pack the 94 000 seater.

The game will be Barcelona’s second visit to the country to face the Brazilians, who also clinched their eighth league title last weekend.

The first match between these two teams took place at Loftus Versfeld in 2007.

The Catalan club had brought their star players, including Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto’o in that 2-1 victory.

But the organisation of that game was shambolic and left many people disappointed.

Hopefully, there will not be any chaos at the home of South African football.

According to a Sundowns insider, the club had submitted about 60 names which include their best players.

Barcelona are expected to once again bring their star players – including Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez – as part of the agreement Sundowns signed with the Spanish giant.

South African supporters will be the last to give Andrés Iniesta – who is leaving the club he has played for since 1996 – a well-deserved send-off as this could be his second-last game in Barca colours.

It will be befitting for Iniesta who will return to the same venue he scored to win Spain the World Cup trophy in 2010.

Uruguayan Suárez will also return to the same venue which made him famous on the continent after he handled the ball to deny Ghana a semi-final spot.

The game will give Sundowns’ stars the opportunity to rub shoulders with their heroes.

The likes of Percy Tau, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Themba Zwane will get a chance to impress overseas scouts while Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane will be able to exchange notes with his Barca counterpart Ernesto Valverde.

Read more on:    mamelodi sundowns  |  barcelona  |  soccer
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