Barcelona to play South African champions
Sibusiso Vilakazi of Mamelodi Sundowns celebrates goal with teammates during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 football match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Ajax Cape Town at Lucas Moripe Stadium, Rustenburg on 28 April 2018 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Monday May 07, 2018. 16:00
The South African Premier Soccer League has granted permission to Absa Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns to host Spanish La Liga giants Barcelona.
The highly anticipated friendly against the La Liga champions will be staged on May 16.
Sundowns are fresh from a 1-1 draw in their CAF Champions League, Group C opener against Wydad Casablanca in Atteridgeville on Saturday night and will now welcome Barcelona for the second time.
Barcelona defeated the Brazilians 2-1 in 2007 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria where a star-studded Barcelona included Brazil’s Ronaldinho.
The clash will also form part of a commemoration of the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations and it will be staged at the FNB Stadium.
“The Premier Soccer League (PSL) received a request from Mamelodi Sundowns to play an international friendly match against FC Barcelona‚” said a PSL statement.
“The League has always followed the same approach in respect of friendly matches in particular when these will (or might) impact the League or Cup competitions.
“This request‚ however‚ was of extraordinary nature in that it formed part of the Madiba Centenary Celebrations.
“Moreover‚ it had direct support from sponsors Nedbank and Government in light of the nature and importance of the event and the part football plays in bringing South Africans together.”