Manchester City to play SA team on Mandela Day

Dethroned English Premier League champions Manchester City will play in Pretoria and Durban in July.

Last year’s champions, who were dethroned by neighbours Manchester United this season, announced two friendly matches today, against still-to-be-named opponents in Pretoria and Durban on July 14 and 18, respectively.

Their tour will coincide with former president Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday celebrations on July 18.

City’s football development executive Patrick Vieira made the announcement in Johannesburg.

He said the club was honoured to be part of Mandela Day festivities.

He said, as an African, he was privileged to be spending the day doing something for the world’s most celebrated human being.

“It will be our honour to spend the day in South Africa in respect of the biggest man in the world. This country means a lot to many City players. We want to make every day a Mandela Day and it is a privilege to be here,” said Vieira.

He said coming to South Africa fitted well with the team’s growth strategy.

“We want to be a bigger club and challenge the likes of Barcelona and we have realised the we have a growing market in South Africa. We want to grow our global market.”

Vieira said he hoped the trip to South Africa would be a good omen for the team to reclaim the Premiership, just like United did after their trip here last year.

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