President Cyril Ramaphosa will today attend the Football for Humanity match between the Palestinian national team and the South African Football Association (SAFA) Third Division at Cape Town's Athlone Stadium.
The Football for Humanity international showpiece, held under the theme, 'Peace, Hope, and Solidarity', aims to provide Palestinian players with the opportunity to enjoy their favourite sport in conditions of peace and sound infrastructure.
The Presidency said the event symbolises South Africa's historic solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle against illegal occupation and violent excesses by the State of Israel.
The Football for Humanity event will showcase the Palestine National Football Team in two exhibition matches on Sunday, 11 February and Sunday, 18 February 2023 at the Athlone Stadium.
The second match, also to be held at Athlone Stadium, will feature a South African Invitational XI facing off against the Palestinian visitors in the Freedom Cup.
The Palestinian National Football Team, fresh from their historic achievement in the Asia Cup, where they qualified for the Round of 16 for the first time, touched down in Cape Town on 8 February 2024.
The South African side will be coached by football legends, Boebie Solomons, Dr Jomo Sono and Farouk Khan, adding a significant layer of expertise and leadership to the occasion.
The Presidency said the match holds great significance, as it takes place on a day embedded in the history of South Africa and in a momentous period for the Palestinian solidarity movement.
“It was on this day, 11 February, in 1990 that former President Nelson Mandela was released from prison, marking the victory of the liberation struggle against apartheid.
“It is noteworthy that the matches occur in the 30th year of South African freedom, a time when South Africa has taken decisive and historic steps on the global stage in the fight for Palestine's liberation and the end of the conflict in Gaza,” the Presidency said in a statement.
According to the Presidency, the Palestine Football Association has expressed enthusiasm about participating in these matches, recognising their focus on humanity and peace.
“The Football for Humanity match is poised to be a fitting display of the power of sport to promote peace and unity, echoing the sentiments of former President Mandela, who believed that sport has the unique ability to unite people in ways little else can,” the Presidency said. – SAnews.gov.za