Bafana Bafana

Bafana Bafana to face Paraguay in annual Nelson Mandela Challenge

Neil Tovey and Nelson Mandela (Gallo Images)
Neil Tovey and Nelson Mandela (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Bafana Bafana will play Paraguay in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Centenary celebrations at Moses Mabhida Stadium, on Tuesday, November 20.

The match comes three days after South Africa’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) match against Nigeria at the FNB Stadium on November 17.

SAFA President, Dr Danny Jordaan who made the announcement in Johannesburg on Monday, said they could not have come up with a better opponent to mark 100 years of South Africa’s icon and father of the nation, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

"We urge football fans to come in their thousands to pay homage to this South African and global icon whose love for children is well documented.

"The match between Bafana Bafana and Paraguay is a fitting tribute to this giant who would have been 100 years old this year," the SAFA President said.

Dr Jordaan said SAFA will donate R1.5 million towards the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund as children were the closest thing to Madiba.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the city of Durban and the Moses Mabhida Stadium for partnering with SAFA in making sure this giant is given a fitting tribute in this momentous year," he said.

The NMCF CEO, Sibongile Mkhabela also urged the people of Durban to turn out in numbers to make sure this year’s tournament is a memorable one.

"This is the centenary year where our hero Nelson Mandela would have been hundred years and the fund’s theme is "a Madiba in every generation".

"Madiba’s wish was to build a specialised dedicated hospital for children.  We are proud to announce that the hospital is in operation and once more we take this opportunity to thank all stakeholders and donors who have made this dream come true," she said.

Mkhabela said they were grateful for SAFA’s massive gesture in whose contribution goes a long way in making sure children are the ultimate beneficiaries.

"We can’t thank SAFA enough but as NMCF, we are really grateful of the association’s annual contribution and we hope this year’s celebrations will be the best," added Mkhabela.

Bafana Bafana and Paraguay have clashed on three occasions to date.

Their first meeting was in 2002 in Busan, South Korea during the 2002 FIFA World Cup which was co-hosted by Japan and Korea. The match finished 2-2 with Teboho Mokoena and Quinton Fortune finding the net for the Jomo Sono-coached side.

The two sides met again in 2008 in Attridgeville’s Lucas Moripe Stadium where Bafana Bafana beat Paraguay 3-0 with goals from Surprise Moriri, Benni McCarthy and Siphiwe Tshabalala. The team was then coached by Carlos Alberto Parreira.

The two side’s last clash was in 2010 in the Paraguay’s capital of Asuncion. The match ended in a 1-1 draw with again Siphiwe Tshabalala finding the back of the net.

Bafana Bafana played their first Nelson Mandela Challenge match against Zambia in May 1994, which South Africa won 2-1.

Among other nations they have hosted, are the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Egypt, Senegal, Nigeria and Cameroon.

The last edition to be played was in 2016 when South Africa defeated Egypt – the following year it was not played due to rescheduled 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

This will be the 24th match of the annual event.

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