Zambia promise strongest line-up
Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) title holders Zambia are contracted to field their strongest line-up when they face Bafana Bafana in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at FNB Stadium this month.
This was announced by SA Football Association (Safa) CEO Robin Petersen on Thursday.
"We have a water-tight agreement with the Zambian FA, stating that they will bring all their best players, including most of those who annexed the continent's most prized trophy," said Petersen.
The Safa CEO said the November 14 date was a Fifa designated day for international matches.
"There should therefore be no problems in both Zambia and South Africa having their best players released from their clubs," he said.
Petersen also revealed that Safa had made the decision to return the event to Johannesburg after the last four games were held in Rustenburg (2008 and 2009), Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.
Petersen said this year's Challenge would be decided via a penalty shoot-out if the teams were level after 90 minutes, with the trophy having been shared in the past.
The Nelson Mandela Challenge, the brainchild of former Safa marketing agent Brian Mahon, was first staged in 1994 at Ellis Park when Zambia were coincidentally Bafana's opponents in a game won 2-1 by the home team.
Bafana have faced two World Cup holders in previous Challenge matches, losing 3-2 against Brazil at FNB Stadium in 1996, and playing to a goalless draw against France at Ellis Park in 2000.
South Africa have won seven and lost seven of the previous Nelson Mandela matches, with the remaining three games ending in draws.
"This time, there is added importance to the event as it will serve as important preparation for both South Africa and Zambia before the Afcon tournament that will be staged in South Africa early next year," said Safa president Kirsten Nematandani.
It was also announced that Bafana coach Gordon Igesund would name his squad on Monday, with other matters pertaining to Bafana's future plans regarding Afcon also expected to be revealed.
"The Nelson Mandela Challenge is more than just an annual sporting event," said Moipone Buda-Ramatlo, the acting CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, which will receive R1 million raised from the annual match.
"It is also a statement of belief that the vital problems facing so many children in our country off the field are of much concern to the broader soccer community."