Barcelona have confirmed that they will be taking on South African side Sundowns for a match that will be played as part of the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations next Wednesday at the FNB Stadium.
The newly-crowned La Liga champions took to Twitter to make the announcement, while expressing their admiration for the South African icon.
“FC Barcelona will be playing its part in the events to commemorate what would have been Nelson Mandela’s one hundredth birthday as they travel to South Africa for a friendly game on May 16 against Absa Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
“The team will travel to Johannesburg the day before the match, which kicks off at 6.15pm (both local time and CET) in the FNB Stadium, formerly known as Soccer City Stadium.”
“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,” the statement read further.
— FC Barcelona 🏆🏆 (@FCBarcelona) May 10, 2018
“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.
“It was Mandela who famously said that ‘sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination’.
“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.”
This will be Barcelona’s second visit to SA, having beaten Masandawana 2-1 in 2007. The Catalans have played a total of 21 games in Africa.