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Bafana Bafana complete preparations for Mali clash

Bafana Bafana have completed preparations for the 2019 Nelson Mandela Challenge clash against Mali.

The two nations will lock horns on Sunday, 13 October 2019 at the Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth.

Kickoff is at 15h00.

This will be the first time the West Africans make an appearance in the annual competition � but this will be the fifth meeting between the two countries.

Mali has won two of the previous four games, with Bafana Bafana triumphant in one, and the other match drawn.

The last clash was two years ago (14 January 2015) in an international friendly match ahead of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Equatorial Guinea, with South Africa emerging 3-0 winners, courtesy of goals from Thulani Hlatshwayo, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Dean Furman.

Hlatshwayo and Furman, alongside Erick Mathoho, are the only three survivors from that fixture that took place in Libreville, Gabon.

Bafana Bafana has been beset with an assortment of injuries since the start of camp on Sunday, 6 October but the situation has since improved, with only striker Lebo Mothiba the only doubtful player after failing to complete the last three training sessions due to a niggling groin strain.

It has been a great camp, despite all the injuries that befell us but we managed to get through it all. I must thank the medical team for working tirelessly to make sure we have a team that will compete against a strong Mali side, which I believe will give us a very good game, said Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki.

This is an important match for all of us as we are preparing for a huge assignement against Ghana and Sudan in the AFCON 2021 qualifiers � but most importantly it is in honour of Nelson Mandela and also for the children's hospital. We also have to play our role and help those less fortunate that us � more so because most of us in the national team are fathers.

Tickets are on sale for R40 for adults and R20 for children under 12 years and can be purchased at Computicket, Checkers, and Shoprite.

SAFA will donate R1,5 million towards the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund as children were the closest thing to Madiba.

Played by Bafana Bafana, 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 with Zambia as the first opponents

Over the years it has featured several big footballing nations like France, Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Senegal and Sweden

This will be the 25thedition of the Challenge

Bafana Bafana has won 12 matches, losing eight with four drawn

The 2018 edition was held in Durban, KwaZulu Natal, against Paraguay and ended in a 1-1 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 to the Eastern Cape for this event first it was a 3-2 win over Senegal in 2005, and a 1-1 draw against Ivory Coast in 2011

Source: South Africa Football Association

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