Mamelodi Sundowns FC vs FC Barcelona

Mamelodi Sundowns & the Motsepe Foundation hosted La Liga Champions FC Barcelona at 18:15 on Wednesday 16 May 2018 at the FNB Stadium as part of the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations.

Mamelodi Sundowns and the Motsepe Foundation partnered with the Inter-Ministerial committee of the South African Government that is responsible for the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, SAFA and La Liga.

Mamelodi Sundowns is grateful to the PSL for having approved the match and to CAF for having moved the Mamelodi Sundowns match against Horoya AC in Guinea Conakry.

epa06742746 Lionel Messi of Barcelona (R) challenged by Sibusiso Vilakazi (L) of Mamelodi Sundowns during the Nelson Mandela Centenary Cup soccer match between Mamelodi Sundonws and Barcelona at Soccer City, Johannesburg, South Africa 16 May 2018. EPA/Gavin Barker

The President of Mamelodi Sundowns and Chairman of the Motsepe Foundation, Dr Patrice Motsepe expressed his gratitude to all the partners and stakeholders who have contributed and assisted in ensuring that the match between Mamelodi Sundowns and FC Barcelona takes place.

Dr Patrice Motsepe said: “Mamelodi Sundowns and the Motsepe Foundation are honoured to play a humble role in the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations in honour of our icon, Dr Nelson Mandela who was respected and inspired people throughout the world. Dr Nelson Mandela often referred to the power of sports and football to unite people from different races and backgrounds. We want our youth who love football to believe that they have the potential to be as good as the best in the world and those who want to be doctors, engineers, technologists or any other professional or entrepreneur to be inspired by the successes of those in football and other sport and to believe that through hard work and sacrifice their dreams can come true.”

Minister Jeff Radebe representing the Inter-Ministerial committee said: “President Mandela personally attended the send offs of South African teams to global competitions and events encouraging them to hold their heads high as South Africans and to be South Africa’s ambassadors of peace, unity and reconciliation. There is no doubt that Madiba used sports as a wedge to enter the global stage whose curtains had been closed to many South Africans because of our country’s sad past.”

The Minister of Sports, Thoko Xasa said: “With all the divisions facing our country, only sport over a period of time has proven an ability to unite our people. It is sport that makes us to forget problems of the day just for a moment. Sport has done tremendously well in building social cohesion for our people and country”.

Mr Tokyo Sexwale who represents the Nelson Mandela Foundation and who is also a special envoy of FIFA and CAF said: “We at the Mandela Foundation entrust his name only to good causes. The friendly international game between Mamelodi Sundowns and FC Barcelona is one such cause. Madiba said: “Sport is a great force for unity and reconciliation”. During these times in our country we also need huge doses of smiles and happiness. This football game is a good dose. The great Barca is once more welcome to our shores and we say: “May the best Champions win, as long as it is Masandawana!”

SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan said: “As the South African Football Association, we have since 1994 organized major international matches to recognize and celebrate the contribution of President Nelson Mandela over the last 24 years by hosting teams like Brazil, Argentina, the Netherlands, world champions Germany, world champions France, world champions Spain, etc. It is for this reason that we immediately support the idea of Patrice Motsepe to work together, to bring one of the top teams in world football FC Barcelona to our country, to celebrate the Centenary anniversary of our former President Dr Nelson Mandela.”

The President of La Liga, Mr Javier Tebas said: “We are delighted that FC Barcelona, the champions of the best competition in the world, will be playing in South Africa. This is a historic event and we are very proud that our local fans will get to enjoy the stars and quality of La Liga close up. This match is a further demonstration of La Liga and its clubs’ total commitment to the African continent. It aligns with La Liga’s work and strategy through its South African office. We are very proud that fans can enjoy their local stars alongside the world’s best league players.”