LaLiga president Javier Tebas will be bringing two Spanish team to South Africa for the Nelson Mandela Centenary celebration next year. Photo: Juanjo Martin/EPA
Javier Tebas, the La Liga president, has revealed that two, unnamed, Spanish sides will be part of the Nelson Mandela Centenary celebration next year.

The event, which is in memory of South Africa’s former head of state, who would have turned a 100 years old, was launched earlier this year by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and will not only include football as part its itinerary.

Through its newly established partnership with the SA Football Association (Safa), Tebas confirmed that La Liga would be sending two clubs.

“We are still deciding on the city for this tournament - it might be Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban,” he said during an interview with Independent Media in Madrid. “There will be two Spanish teams travelling there. We have also organised a tournament for kids there in South Africa, including various other events we are still working on with Safa.

“I am not sure yet which teams, but we will know soon.”

Although Valencia officials insisted they knew nothing about the tournament in South Africa next year, they joked that it would overlap perfectly with the club’s own centenary festivities a year later.

Valencia was founded in 1919. Safa have been mum about developments to the programme only revealing recently that invites had been sent to various clubs and associations requesting their presence.

It was in August that Danny Jordaan, the Safa president, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tebas for the two associations to collaborate in aiding the growth of development at grassroots level in South Africa.

Spain also wanted to capitalise on their growing audience in the country, and were willing to partner with Safa. In the coming months, talented young players will travel to Spain to display their skill and talent at several La Liga clubs.

“The partnership is in it’s early stages,” said Tebas.

“But there is a lot more we are going to be doing, similar to the recent games (KwaMahlobo games) in Soweto to help promote youth development and community initiatives.

“We will be bringing certified coaches to train the local coaches as part of Safa’s Vision 2022 target.”

The Dutch Football Association, also through its ties with Safa, is also likely to send an invitational side to take part in the tournament. An official date has not yet been set for the Mandela Centenary, but Tebas suggested it could be shortly after the World Cup in Russia.

The Star

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