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Mamelodi Sundowns to play Spanish giants Barcelona in South Africa

La Liga champions Barcelona will tour South Africa later this month, with a friendly match against Mamelodi Sundowns the highlight of this end of the season trip.

Mamelodi Sundowns, who like Spanish champions-elect Barca, have already been crowned champions of the South Africa’s Premier Soccer League, confirmed this development on Friday through their Twitter handle.

The clash is primed for the Soccer City in Johannesburg on May 16.

Sundowns have enjoyed great success in recent years, winning the South Africa top division league three times in the last five seasons to bring their league title count to eight since 1997, the best by any club over the same period.

But the club’s greatest achievement to date remains being crowned African champions two years ago when they won the Caf Champions League.

It however remains to be seen if the Spanish giants will come with their big name stars for the contest, in the form of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Andreas Iniesta, considering that most of these players are expected to link up with their national team to prepare for the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.

EUROPEAN TEAMS

Likewise, Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane could reshuffle his team for this encounter, with an important Champions League match against Guinea’s Horoya scheduled for Conakry some 24 hours earlier.

This will be Barcelona’s second trip to South Africa in the last decade.

Media reports have indicated that the South Africans paid Barcelona an estimated Sh100 million as appearance fee the last time the two teams met in 2007. That particular match ended 2-1 in favour of the touring Catalans.

Barcelona’s visit comes in the wake of an increasing interest in Africa by European teams.

Next week, English Championship side Hull City will tour Kenya, and it has also been reported that several Bundesliga sides are considering a trip to Nairobi in the near future.