Safa president Danny Jordaan announced that Bafana Bafana will play Mali in the Nelson Mandela Challenge. Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

PORT ELIZABETH – Mali will make their debut in the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge against Bafana Bafana in the 2019 edition at the Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth on 13 October.

Safa president Danny Jordaan made the announcement in his hometown of Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.

“We are very grateful for this great gesture by the Nelson Mandela Bay to host this important match which we use annually in honour of our greatest statesman, Tata Nelson Mandela.

"It could not have been more fitting for the Nelson Mandela Bay to host this year’s Nelson Mandela Challenge match and on behalf of SAFA and the entire football fraternity, I would like to say thank you once again,” said Jordaan.

“What is even more pleasing is that this match comes barely a few months after Banyana Banyana stole the hearts of the fans when they won the COSAFA Cup, and we are confident Bafana Bafana will continue from the Senior Women’s team left off.”

Safa will donate R1,5 million to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

The Nelson Mandela Challenge is an annual football spectacle that the South African Football Association (SAFA) uses to keep the memory of the late former South African State President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela alive.

The tournament has been played since May 1994 and has featured several big footballing nations from around the world, including the likes of current World Champions France, Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Senegal and Sweden over the years.

To date, it has been played 24 times – with Bafana Bafana winning 12 matches, suffering eight losses and with four drawn fixtures.

The match is played around the country, with the 2018 edition held in Durban, KwaZulu Natal against Paraguay – the clash ended in a 1-1 draw.

This will be the first time Mali face Bafana Bafana in the one day event – but the two nations have met four times before, with the Eagles having the upper hand of two wins and one draw.

The West Africans are ranked 11thon the continent – two places above South Africa, but 57thin the World compared to Bafana Bafana’s 71.

This will be the third time Bafana Bafana returns Nelson Mandela Bay for this event.

The first time was in 2005 against Senegal, a clash South Africa won 3-2. They returned there six years ago and drew 1-1 with the Ivory Coast. 

African News Agency (ANA)