As we predicted last week, amidst the South African media’s prophecies of doom, the Mandela Challenge Match against Egypt will indeed go ahead next Wednesday, 15th November at Brentford’s Griffin Park with a 7:45pm kick off. Brentford now formally acknowledge the fixture and organisers Star Meridian say one thousand tickets have already been sold in the twelve thousand capacity stadium.
However, the showpiece occasion ran into unexpected competition on Tuesday when it was announced that the Democratic Republic of Congo’s national side would be taking on Albania at Brisbane Road, home of Leyton Orient, on the same evening. We promise we’re not making this up. Our assumption is that, with Queens Park Rangers’ Shepherd’s Bush HQ already hosting a clash between Australia and the Black Stars of Ghana the previous night, Orient’s ground was the next best London alternative of the appropriate size. We await the counter declarations from Crystal Palace and Millwall (surely Tibet, Greenland, Catalonia and Gibraltar are free that week?).
And the roll call of exotic footballing encounters in the capital shows no sign of petering out. Australia have already fixed up another friendly at Loftus Road, this time with former European Champions Denmark on February 6th next year.
Picture of an Albanian drummer coming to a North London football ground near you via CharlesFred's Flickr stream.