city up for challenge
The Vodacom Challenge, one of the most envied South African off-season soccer tournaments, was yesterday given the thumbs-up by leading English Premiership outfit Manchester City who are part of the event's tenth anniversary.
During this tournament in July, City will launch their kit sponsorship in South Africa, the first time ever that such a big announcement takes place outside England.
"It [Challenge] is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world," said City's executive chairman Garry Cook in Midrand yesterday.
Cook also hailed Irvin Khoza, Orlando Pirates chairman, for coming up with the idea for this tournament 10 years ago.
"We are privileged to be part of this tournament this year. For Mark Hughes [City's coach], the tournament is important, it will be part of our pre-season preparations," he said.
Cook was quick to point out that City will bring along all their stars including Robinho, Elano, Craig Bellamy, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Wayne Bridge.
The Sky Blues also boast a PSL product in Benjani Mwaruwari, who played for Jomo Cosmos before going to Europe where he became an instant hit.
Hughes told Sowetanhe was excited to be coming to play in South Africa.
"I know a bit about South African football, you have some of the best players in Europe like Benni [McCarthy], Aaron Mokoena and Steven Pienaar.
"Pienaar has been on top of his game. As for Pirates and Chiefs, we will do some research in the build-up to the tournament."
Khoza said he was grateful to the cell phone giant for assisting in the development of the game .
Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung said he was happy to have City - the team he made his debut against for the Atlanta Chiefs when they toured Atlanta in 1968 - coming here.