It’s hardly a big surprise, but the news this morning that Newcastle’s attempts to play in the Vodacom Challenge in South Africa, along with the Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Congolese champions TP Mazembe, have now officially broken down.
Newcastle play Cardiff City on August 11th
Newcastle had apparently hoped to have made some big money in South Africa, and about a week ago, the organizer SAIL had announced the tournament was off, and the CEO of SAIL, who has been fully involved in organising the competition, confirmed to The Journal that the tournament is off:
“I can confirm the tournament has been cancelled for 2012 due to various circumstances and that we will not be hosting Newcastle.”
There must be more in this than meets the eye, and maybe it was the fee that could not be agreed, but either way Newcastle’s many South African supporters are the big losers in this, because from the many emails we’ve received, we know they were hoping and praying Newcastle would visit South Africa.
Newcastle have only three confirmed pre-season games arranged at the moment – against Olympiakos on July 27th, FC Porto the next day on July 28th in the Algarve tournament, and then a game the Saturday before the Premier League starts at home to Tottenham, which is at Cardiff City on August 11th.
There have been rumors that Newcastle have been trying to arrange a game at Sporting Lisbon, and they could easily do that with an extended stay in Portugal, and surprisingly there has been talk about a possible trip over here to Philadelphia, to play AC Milan on August 3rd.
But we’d be very surprised if that was true, because that’s an awful lot of travel, just like last summer, and they’d have to play at least two games to make the trip to America worthwhile.
However, it seems Newcastle are a bit high and dry at the moment as far as their pre-season plans go, so we suppose the Newcastle powers that be are working hard to arrange three more pre-season games for the team.
What’s that about the best laid schemes of mice and men? 😀