U.S. to Face 2010 FIFA World Cup Host South Africa on Nov. 17 in Johannesburg in 2007 Edition of Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup
CHICAGO (Sept. 20, 2007) — The U.S. Men’s National Team will make their first-ever trip to South Africa when they take on the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosts on Nov. 17 in Johannesburg as part of the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup. Kick off at Ellis Park Stadium, which will host one World Cup semifinal match in 2010, is set for 4 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) live on Fox Soccer Channel. Fans can follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
The Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup, an annual one-off event typically hosted in South Africa, began in 1994 and has seen South Africa face opponents like Brazil, Argentina, Holland, Nigeria and a host of others.
“It is a great honor to be invited to participate in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “South Africa has always had a talented team, and the match represents an excellent opportunity for our players to travel and play in South Africa.”
The United States will make a rare trip to Africa, playing on the continent for just the third time in their long history. Their last visit came eight years to the day before the November match, a 1-2 loss to Morocco on Nov. 17, 1999 in Marrakech. The only other trip to Africa was also against Morocco in 1992, when the U.S. suffered a 3-1 loss in Casablanca. As the 2007 Gold Cup Champions, the U.S. will represent CONCACAF in the 2009 Confederations Cup to be held in South Africa one year prior the World Cup.
In the only prior meeting between the two sides, the U.S. beat South Africa, 4-0, on June 3, 2000, in Washington, D.C. Cobi Jones tallied twice that day, with Earnie Stewart and Claudio Reyna rounding out the scoring as Kasey Keller earned the shutout.
Under the leadership of Bradley, the United States has posted an impressive 10-5-1 record in 2007. Bradley, who took the reigns in December of 2006, became the first coach in U.S. history to record victories in his first three games with wins against Denmark, Mexico and Ecuador. Leading the charge on the field has been two-time U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year Landon Donovan, who has already amassed nine goals in 12 games played this year. With his strike in the Gold Cup final, the 25-year-old moved into a tie for first place on the USA’s all-time leading goal-scoring chart with 34 goals.
Eight days after the Nov. 17 match, South Africa will host the Preliminary Draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The event, held in Durban, will determine the qualifying schedule for 156 countries spanning five confederations. The South American qualifying competition begins Oct. 13 with all ten teams in action.