Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter's team are gearing up to face Nigeria in an Afcon qualifier before the Nelson Mandela Challenge match. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

DURBAN – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth has been identified as a suitable venue to stage the Nelson Mandela Challenge.

But the game might be moved to Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban if the South African Football Association (Safa) doesn’t agree terms with the municipality in the Eastern Cape.

The game is set to be played on November 20. Just three days earlier, Stuart Baxter’s Bafana Bafana will lock horns against Nigeria in a crucial Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

Independent Media have been reliably informed by a top-level source at Safa that Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in PE has been chosen to host the big spectacle.

“The game is scheduled to be played at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. The stadium is named after him, and it is his year.

“The problem, though, is that Safa and Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium are still deadlocked in talks. They are not agreeing on terms.

“Moses Mabhida Stadium has opened their arms. They are willing to stage the stadium. You know that you have to pay for the ground, but Moses Mabhida Stadium is offering it for free.

“There are other things which I’m not at liberty to mention, which they are offering. It is not yet confirmed, but it looks like Mabhida will get it if PE doesn’t put up more money,” the source said.

The first democratically elected South African president Mandela would have been 100 years of age this year.

“The opposition is not yet finalised. The acting CEO (Russell Paul) is talking to Senegal and Tunisia. He is currently in Tunisia.

“But if they don’t agree, he will try other countries. Everything will be finalised when he gets back to the country,” the source added.

Stadium manager at Moses Mabhida, Vusi Mazibuko, confirmed that they have made it known to Safa that they are available to host the game.

“We are still waiting on Safa, but I can confirm that we have expressed our desire to host the game,” Mazibuko explained.

Independent Media have it on good authority that Moses Mabhida Stadium has a goal of hosting two Bafana matches, and one or two cup finals every year.

They have already hosted Bafana against Libya this year, and two cup finals in the form of the Nedbank Cup and the Telkom Knockout.

The venue will also be the scene of the Soweto Derby Telkom Knockout semi-final between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates on November 24.

Thubanzi Mniki, the communication officer at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, was not at liberty to comment about the negotiations with Safa.

Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi, when asked about the Nelson Mandela Challenge, said: “I don’t have the information as to where the game will be staged and the opponents. Yes, it is true that the acting CEO is still in Tunisia.” 


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