Manchester United will play Portsmouth in a pre-season exhibition match in Nigeria in July right after Manchester United’s pre-season tour in South Africa.
At a press conference at Old Trafford today, chief executive David Gill confirmed the game against the FA Cup winners will be added to United’s existing commitments in Africa. The date and venue will be confirmed at a later date, although the match will be played in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
The Reds are heading to South Africa for three games against Kaiser Chiefs and Orlando Pirates between 19 July and 26 July and will now play in Nigeria shortly afterwards, en route back to England.
“Our own research has shown Nigeria is home to our fourth largest fan base — some 13.6million supporters — so this is an opportunity for us to say thank you to those fans.
“We’re looking forward to a real carnival atmosphere when we play in Nigeria.
In January we had a game in Saudi Arabia, which went very well. Now this will be our first visit to Nigeria and a chance for the fans to see their heroes in the flesh.”
Manchester United are also due to face Portsmouth at Wembley in the Community Shield on Sunday 10 August, although this friendly will have no real bearing on that result.
On players going to the pre-season trip:
“We’ll take a strong squad. All the English players will be there – people like Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves, for instance.
Those players who are involved in and do well at the European Championships won’t make the trip [to South Africa or Nigeria].
I think we’ll be there for a couple of days. We want to be there long enough to play the game, participate in some activities and see a bit of the country.””
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