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Madiba sports day to unite SA

Springboks and Bafana Bafana will play at the same venue on the same day for the first time.

Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Lelo Mcaza/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula officially unveiled the 2013 Nelson Mandela Sports and Culture Day on Thursday morning.

The event will celebrate former President Nelson Mandela's legacy.

The Springboks and Bafana Bafana will play at the same venue on the same day for the first time.

The event is scheduled for 17 August and proceeds will go to the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital.

It will kick off with a match between Bafana and Burkina Faso, closely followed by the Boks vs Argentina.

Bafana coach Gordon Igesund along with several Proteas and Springboks were at the launch to show their support for the initiative.

Skipper Itumeleng Khune said the day will be a great opportunity to unite the country.

Mbalula spoke about the iconic scenes back in 1995 and 1996 where Francois Pienaar and Neil Tovey were in the Rugby World Cup and African Cup of Nations.

Stadium Management SA CEO Jacques Grobbelaar said, "Prior to the Bulls playing in Soweto in 2010, we had to turn the Orlando Stadium from a soccer venue to rugby venue and then on the same day, back to a soccer venue. So we have done it in the past and it is logistically possible."

The event was the brainchild of Mbalula and Orlando Pirates chairperson Dr Irvin Khoza.

"This has been a dream for the Minister of Sport for many years now and in discussions between us and Dr.Khoza, [he said that] this has been something he wanted to do. We've planned accordingly since 2010 and we're more than comfortable in turning the venue around," Grobbelaar added.

Mbalula encouraged South Africans to attend in honour of Madiba and his love for sport.

Tickets will start from R250.00 for both fixtures.

"I cannot think of a better way for us as sports people to honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela than putting two of South Africa's most popular sports, with contrasting cultural heritages, on to the same field on the same day," South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins said in a statement on Thursday.

SANZAR, who control the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship event which also involves New Zealand and Australia, have given their backing to the initiative.

"SANZAR is supportive of the forthcoming Nelson Mandela Sports Day and believe it will prove a momentous occasion for the Republic of South Africa," CEO Greg Peters said.