Exciting Night in South Africa as Mamelodi Sundowns Play Barcelona

The atmosphere at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg tonight was electric as SA’s champions Mamelodi Sundowns took on the mighty Spanish giants, Barcelona (one of the best football teams in the world)… in a friendly match to honour Nelson Mandela, forming part of the Mandela Centenary celebrations.

FC Barcelona arrived at OR Tambo International Airport to a hero’s welcome…

‪🚨MATCHDAY🚨‬‪We hope you ready FC Barcelona!‪#DownsBarca #Sundowns‬

Posted by Mamelodi Sundowns FC on Wednesday, May 16, 2018

And by the end of the night even the usually serious Mamelodi Sundowns coach, Pitso Mosimane, was grinning (well smiling) from ear to ear… despite his team losing 1-3 to FC Barcelona. (See video below.)

A number of local and international dignitaries including Fifa president Gianni Infantino attended the big match. Mamelodi Sundowns president, Dr Patrice Motsepe, reportedly paid around R45-million (although local reports put the figure at R100-million) for FC Barcelona to fly out for the match.

Motsepe said he hoped tonight would inspire SA’s youth to believe they have the potential to be as good as the best in the world, no matter what career they choose, and that through hard work and sacrifice their dreams can come true.

Mosimane said before the match that it wasn’t about “beating Barca or trying to match ourselves against Barca. It’s just to see our organisation, the way we defend and attack… The Barca match is an opportunity to see the difference between the Rand and the Euro. It’s just an opportunity to have fun and see that if we play the Sundowns way, can Barca stop Sundowns.”

The match came right after Sundowns (known as the Brazilians) were crowned league champions for a record eighth time.

Before the match, Mosimane said “I must be honest with you, I am so excited about the game”… and after the match, it was clear he was not disappointed!

Minister of Sports, Thoko Xasa said before the match: “With all the divisions facing our country, only sport over a period of time has proven an ability to unite our people. It is sport that makes us to forget problems of the day just for a moment. Sport has done tremendously well in building social cohesion for our people and country.”

Tonight South Africa forgot its problems… and Motsepe’s intention to give South Africans something to celebrate, and to give them the best of the best was fulfilled as Barcelona brought its best players (including the world’s top footballer, Lionel Messi).

Barcelona arrived to a hero’s welcome in South Africa:


Posted by Mamelodi Sundowns FC on Wednesday, May 16, 2018