Bafana Bafana will play the Teranga Lions of Senegal in the 21st Edition of the Nelson Mandela Challenge at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday, 8 September.

Bafana Bafana will play the Teranga Lions of Senegal in the 21st Edition of the Nelson Mandela Challenge at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday, 8 September. The match will kick off at 19h00.

The annual Nelson Mandela Challenge is one way of honouring the late father of the nation President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s nation-building efforts as well as the football fraternity’s yearly pledge to the cause of children.

Last year, South Africa met and beat Ivory Coast 2-0 in the Nelson Mandela Challenge match and in keeping up with the tradition of bringing top sides, Senegal and Bafana Bafana will do the honours this year.

This will be the third time they return for the event. The first was in 2002 when they defeated Bafana Bafana 4-1 on penalties after the match ended in a 1-all stalemate at the Ellis Park Stadium. The visitors’ winning streak continued three years later in 2005 when Senegal emerged 3-2 victors in Port Elizabeth.

“We can only be excited at the prospect of facing one of the top five countries on the continent, also ranked 39th in the world – we could not have asked for better opponents. This match comes at a time when we are readying ourselves for a taxing period with upcoming qualifiers, this will help us to thoroughly prepare for those games. I am also glad we will be playing regularly as these extended breaks make us lose our rhythm,” said Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim Mashaba.

SAFA President, Dr Danny Jordaan said it was an honour to welcome the Teranga Lions to our shores for this worthy cause.

“As we welcome Senegal to our shores, we must be mindful of what this annual event stands for; keeping the Madiba legacy by paying particular attention to something that was close to his heart, the well-being of the children. Through this annual event, we believe we are reliving what he really cherished,” said SAFA President Dr. Danny Jordaan.

A further expansion of the two brands has been activated by virtue of the U13 and U15 Boys and Girls tournaments will now bear the name of the icon Madiba – these will be funded by the 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy Trust. The move extends the relationship between the brands of SAFA and the Children’s Fund to a year-long association, instead of being restricted to one match per year, as has been the case in the past.

A further smile was added to the Children’s Fund when SAFA confirmed that the annual financial contribution of R1 million going to the Children’s Fund will be substantially increased going forward.

Ms. Sibongile Mkhabela, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund says the annual tournament will be celebrating the 20-year existence in style.

“From the first game that South Africa played against Zambia at the FNB Stadium in 1994, to the very last one against Cote d’Ivoire at Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga last year, the Nelson Mandela Challenge has been a 20-year journey that has seen the Fund and SAFA being fellow travelers to raise awareness for the cause of children, bring cheer to the football-loving community and celebrating Madiba’s legacy,” said Ms. Sibongile Mkhabela, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

“A nation that works, dreams, plays and fills sports fields with cheering fans and shining stars but never forgets to spare a thought for its children, is the one that Madiba established the Fund for. Every edition of Nelson Mandela Challenge is a reminder that there is no better foundation for any nation that its children. We are deeply honoured that every stakeholder that never tires to make this tournament possible, subscribes to the joy of making children’s life a celebration.”

Tickets are selling for R60 throughout the stadium and can be purchased at Computicket outlets, Shoprite and Shoprite Checkers stores throughout the country.