Bafana vs Zambia for Mandela Challenge
2 November 2012
Defending African Cup of Nations champions Zambia have been confirmed as Bafana Bafana's opposition for the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge, the South African Football Association announced on Thursday.
The clash will take place at the FNB Stadium, which hosted the 2010 Fifa World Cup final, on 14 November. Some of the proceeds will go to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
The teams have met only once previously in the Nelson Mandela Challenge, in 1994, in the very first year of its existence, when South Africa scored a 2-1 victory at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
The forthcoming match will be the 18th Nelson Mandela Challenge - only in 2001 was it not played, after Mexico pulled out of the match at the last minute - and South Africa's record is a well-rounded seven victories, seven defeats and three draws.
The match at the FNB Stadium will be the first in Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city, since 2007.
Last year, Bafana Bafana came from behind to draw 1-1 with Africa's top ranked team, Côte d'Ivoire. An own goal by Siboniso Gaxa put the Elephants in front, but a stunning second half free kick by Katlego Mphela levelled the match.
"We are honoured to be playing a high-profile opposition like Zambia as this is in line with our vision of playing tough opponents as part of our preparations for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament," South African Football Association (Safa) CEO Robin Petersen commented at Thursday's announcement.
'A special occasion'
"It is also a special occasion in that Zambia was the first nation to play in this event back in 1994, and are currently the title holders of Afcon - so we are confident that it will be quite a celebration with our neighbours when we meet."
Petersen said Safa would donate R1-million to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. "We are once again privileged to have the opportunity to help the needy, as part of the proceeds from the match will go towards the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund," he explained.
The fund's acting CEO, Moipone Buda-Ramatlo, responded: "To us, the Nelson Mandela Challenge is more than just an annual sporting event of 90 minutes' cheer to the followers of the beautiful game. It is also a statement of belief that the problems facing children are of much concern to the broader football community.
'Stars we can count on'
"All the problems that are facing children off the field certainly become lighter to tackle in the knowledge that there are stars we can count on on the field to spread the message of building a brighter future for our children," Buda-Ramatlo said.
"It is in this regard that we acknowledge and thank Safa for the donation of R1-million, which will go a long way in helping to address the need of our children."
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund will announce his side for the clash on Monday, 5 November.
NELSON MANDELA CHALLENGE RESULTS
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