I’m sitting in Moses Mabhida Stadium, writing this blog post for all of you, something I never imagined would happen when All Things Jabu started its humble beginnings in 2010. I am in Durban to attend the DHL Manchester Untied tour game against Amazulu.
Although fans will be disappointed that superstars Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Nemanja Vidic and others stayed away, the Durban faithful will still get the chance to see the likes of Michael Carrick, Javier Hernandez, Rio Ferdinand, new signing Shinji Kagawa and their ginger, Paul Scholes.
Although many will think that United would take the game lightly, those would be strongly mistaken. Sir Alex Ferguson at this morning’s press conference said: “We won’t be treating this lightly, we never do, and it’s an important start to a season after the disappointment of last year. Obviously we want to recover that title – that’s our priority number one this year, winning that title back”
And the players are taking it seriously too; Chicharito said in a press conference that I attended earlier today. “I love South Africa, it’s where I came for my first ever World Cup for my country and I am here again to win and to help prepare myself for the new season”
Manchester United also held an open training session today for about 3000 fans and based on the intensity of the training, this game is not being seen as a training game, but rather as a great opportunity for some of the youngsters to prove themselves to Fergie for the upcoming season.
But let’s not get this wrong, this is as much about commercial branding as it is about training for the pre-season. And while Man United may have lost out by the tightest margin to Manchester City in the league last season, this tour is just further evidence of the true gulf between the two Manchester sides in terms of honest value and crowd pulling ability.
All that being said, it is looking like we could see a fantastic open and flowing game of football that will probably be slowed down by the inevitable 27 substitutions we see in the second half but that should not ruin the spectacle for the sell-out crowd at Moses Mabidha tomorrow night.
And of course the most important aspect of tomorrow’s game is that it will be used to celebrate the birthday of Nelson Mandela. Manchester United will be supporting the Mandela day initiative and will their will be a pregame song dedicated to the icon. We hope the game honours Mr Mandela by leaving at least 67 minutes of memorable football for us to watch!
If you are keen to get involved in the action follow the #DHLManUtd tag for all the happenings on the tour!