Mali will make their debut in the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge when they face Bafana Bafana in the 2019 edition scheduled to be played at the Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth.
The match will take place on Sunday, 13 October 2019. Kickoff is at 15h00.
SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan, made the announcement in his hometown of Port Elizabeth.
“We are very grateful for this great gesture by the Nelson Mandela Bay to host this important match which we use annually in honour of our greatest statesman, Tata Nelson Mandela. It could not have been more fitting for the Nelson Mandela Bay to host this year’s Nelson Mandela Challenge match and on behalf of SAFA and the entire football fraternity, I would like to say thank you once again,” said Dr Jordaan.
“What is even more pleasing is that this match comes barely a few months after Banyana Banyana stole the hearts of the fans when they won the COSAFA Cup, and we are confident Bafana Bafana will continue from the Senior Women’s team left off.”
Dr Jordaan said SAFA will donate R1,5 million towards the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund as children were the closest thing to Madiba.
Ms. Sibongile Mkhabela, Chief Executive Officer of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, has welcomed the gesture and called on the people of Nelson Mandela Bay to support this great initiative by filling up the stadium.
“Sport has an innate ability to unite any country to reignite the shared vision of winning. The Nelson Mandela Challenge has always stood to celebrate this spirit of championship, patriotism, unity and charity,” said Ms. Mkhabela.
“The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund is grateful that SAFA has earmarked the benefits of this challenge to be donated to the Fund. This donation will allow the organisation to reach more communities and transform more lives. We would also like to take to this opportunity to call on the people of Port Elizabeth to come and support this wonderful initiative.”
Played by Bafana Bafana, the Nelson Mandela Challenge is an annual football spectacle that the South African Football Association (SAFA) uses to keep the memory of the late former South African State President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela alive.
Speaking on behalf of the Nelson Mandela Bay City, Deputy Mayor Tsonono Buyeye said it was an honour to host Bafana Bafana for this prestigious match.
“We are very happy as the City to be hosting this match – the third time it comes back here in our province. We all know that this city is iconic in that it has been named after Tata Nelson Mandela, and so it is the stadium which celebrates it’s 10thyear anniversary and it is one of the biggest assets this city has,” said the Deputy Mayor.
“We know the spinoffs such a game will bring to our city. We need more of these games and we want to see Bafana Bafana returning more often. We are very excited to be playing this match here. Good luck to Bafana Bafana against Mali.”
The tournament has been played since May 1994 and has featured several big footballing nations from around the world, including the likes of current World Champions France, Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Senegal and Sweden over the years.
To date, it has been played 24 times – with Bafana Bafana winning 12 matches, suffering eight losses and with four drawn fixtures.
The match is played around the country, with the 2018 edition held in Durban, KwaZulu Natal against Paraguay – the clash ended in a 1-1 draw.
This will be the first time Mali face Bafana Bafana in the one day event – but the two nations have met four times before, with the Eagles having the upperhand of two wins and one draw.
The West Africans are ranked 11thon the continent – two places above South Africa, but 57thin the World compared to Bafana Bafana’s 71.
This will be the third time Bafana Bafana returns Nelson Mandela Bay for this event.
The first time was in 2005 against Senegal, a clash South Africa won 3-2. They returned there six years ago and drew 1-1 with the Ivory Coast.
Tickets for the match are available at Computicket outlets, Shoprite and Checkers stores.
Squad BaFANA BAFANA
Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (Leuven, Belgium), Ronwen Williams (SS Utd), Brandon Peterson (Wits)
Defenders: Eric Mathoho (Kaizer Chiefs), Buhle Mkhwanazi, Thulani Hlatshwayo (Wits), Thapelo Morena, Mosa Lebusa (Sundowns), Thamsanqa Mkhize (CT City), Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates)
Midfielders: Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentford), Thato Mokeke (CT City), Dean Furman (SS Utd), Lebogang Phiri (Guingamp), Bongani Zungu (Amiens), Themba Zwane (Downs), Thembinkosi Lorch (Pirates), Percy Tau (Club Brugge), Thulani Serero (Al Jazira, Abu Dhabi), Keagan Dolly (Montpellier
Strikers: Lebo Mothiba (Strasbourg), Bradley Grobler (Supersport United), Kermit Erasmus (CT City).