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FC Barcelona to visit South Africa to celebrate Mandela’s 100th birthday

The much-talked about friendly match between the newly-crowned Premier Soccer League champions Mamelodi Sundowns and new the La Liga champions Barcelona was announced during a press conference at Sandton Convention Centre in South Africa on Thursday.

The friendly on May 16 is part of the celebrations to mark 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela.

The game is being played at the FNB stadium, formerly known as the Soccer City stadium, where Spain won the 2010 World Cup with a team featuring Barca players Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and captain Andres Iniesta, who struck the only goal in their 1-0 win over the Netherlands.

FC Barcelona has always professed its admiration for Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest figures of the 20th century, who after 27 years in prison went on to become the first democratically elected president of post-apartheid South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Mandela represented the struggle for freedom and equality in the country and played a huge role in unifying the racially divided society. It is precisely this kind of spirit with which FC Barcelona has always been identified.

FC Barcelona joined the mourning of the passing of ‘Madiba’ in 2013 at the age of 95 by wearing black armbands in the game against Cartagena.

Second visit to South Africa

FC Barcelona has played 21 games on African soil over the years, and this will be their second visit to South Africa. The last time they were in the country was in 2007 for a friendly in Pretoria, still against the Mamelodi Sundowns. Thirteen of the 21 games have been friendlies.

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