ENGLISH Premier League Football Club, Manchester City, will be visiting South Africa in their upcoming pre-season programme, ‘City on Tour’.
Two games will be played against top PSL clubs, the second taking place on Mandela Day, July 18. To recognise this, the organisers, Matchworld, have collaborated with Africa Rising and Manchester City to get the world to understand the concept ’67 minutes for Madiba’, the ethical framework being “Service to one’s fellow human”.
Representing Manchester City at the launch was Patrick Vieira, Football Development Executive for Manchester City Football Club. Patrick had an illustrious career at AC Milan, Juventus, Arsenal and Manchester City before moving in to an executive role at City on his retirement.
He has won 9 league titles and 5 FA Cups and he has also represented his country, France, 107 times and won the 1998 FIFA World Cup when he received France’s highest award, the Legion d’Honneur in 1998.
“South Africa is one of my favourite countries,” said Vieira. “I spent a lot of time here during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was thrilled when Manchester City tasked me to come over and launch the South African leg of our upcoming Tour. Mandela is one of my heroes and to be part of his day will be an honour.”
The South African ‘Football Invitational in support of Mandela Day’ kicked-off in the same period last year when Manchester United played Amazulu. “We are pleased that Manchester City has included South Africa in their pre-season Tour and help us promote Mandela Day. We are continuing from where we left off last year and give all South Africans a chance to see another great team in action” said Lyndon Barends, Executive Chairman,
Manchester City was founded in 1880 and counts the European Cup Winners’ Cup, three League Championship titles, and five FA Cups amongst its honours.
Under manager Roberto Mancini, City plays its home fixtures at the Etihad Stadium and won the title of Premier League champions for 2011/12 after a 44 year wait. They are currently second in the Premier League and will play in the FA Cup final this coming Saturday.
“South Africa’s love of football was clear during both the World Cup and most recently the African Cup of Nations. The national pride that comes from hosting these prestigious tournaments is a testament to how the country embraces the sport,” said Tom Glick, Chief Commercial & Operating Officer at Manchester City Football Club.
“We are very excited to bring Manchester City closer to the South African community and our rapidly growing global fan-base. This will be a fantastic tournament and I speak for the full squad when I say how pleased we are to visit this wonderful country. Not only are the training facilities fantastic, but we have already seen the fans passion first hand from our
previous visit in 2009 and look forward to July 2013,” said Glick.
“This year being Madiba’s 95th Birthday we are supported by Africa Rising, founded by Ndaba and Kweku Mandela. In this way it becomes part of a bigger celebration to honour Mr Mandela” says Barends.
“For us as Megapro and Matchworld the Invitational is not only an annual treat but also a great honour especially since we are highlighting the importance of Mandela Day and the 67 minutes of community action.” Says George Rautenbach, Executive Chairman, Megapro Holdings.
Ndaba Mandela says: “We as Africa Rising are extremely proud to be associated with the Football Invitational in support of Mandela Day on this special birthday of our grandfather”.
Games will take place on July 14 and 18 against South African PSL teams still to be finalised. Tickets, like last year, will be priced between R150 and R350 and will be on sale at Computicket at the end of May.