Having experienced such a successful pre-season in the past in South Africa, Manchester United have confirmed that they will return to the country again this year.
United will participate in the Soccer Challenge, which is a charity event that aims to promote the country’s Mandela Day. In total, the Red Devils will play two fixtures, with one against AmaZulu FC and the other against Ajax. With both fixtures played in different areas, Durban and Cape Town, it gives South Africa another chance to meet and greet the stars of United.
The schedule was announced by United chairman David Gill, who said that the fixtures would amount to good preparation for the squad, even though many believe that these encounters are merely for publicity purposes abroad. Gill said, “The training camp and matches in South Africa will be an important part of our preparations for the 2012/13 season and an excellent chance to renew our acquaintance with our loyal and enthusiastic fans in South Africa. Everyone has fond memories of the visits in 2006 and 2008 and of the exceptional organisation for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.”
As well as the tour to South Africa, United will also visit China and Norway. In the former, they will play against Shanghai Shenhua before then moving onto Norway. In that country, they will also play just one game, concluding their pre-season preparations with a fixture against Vålerenga at the start of August.
There was much uncertainty regarding United’s plans this summer, with pre-season announcements usually made much earlier in the calendar year. There were suggestions that the club could make a repeat of the highly successful USA tour that took place last year, but it now appears as though United are aiming to target their brand at other parts of the world and will visit the above three nations.