Soccer, rugby teams play on same day for Mandela

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's sports ministry says the national soccer and rugby teams will play on the same day at the former World Cup showpiece stadium in Soweto to honor Nelson Mandela.

South Africa's soccer team will face Burkina Faso in an exhibition match and the Springboks will start their Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina, both on Aug. 17 at FNB Stadium —formerly known as Soccer City.

The Ministry of Sport and Recreation said Tuesday that Mandela, the 94-year-old former president who is critically ill in hospital, is "the primary inspiration behind this initiative."

The anti-apartheid leader has strong ties to South African sport having inspired the rugby team when it won the World Cup in 1995 and also the soccer team a year later when it lifted the African Cup of Nations trophy.

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