Goal.com can confirm that Liverpool will tour South Africa for a friendly game against Ajax Cape Town on Friday, 31st May 2013
From all foreign clubs Liverpool and Manchester United historically have the most fans in South Africa, though in recent years there's also been a significant increase in Chelsea and Arsenal fans. Ajax Amsterdam, though, are currently in the midst of a relegation battle and internal turmoil with coach Muhsin Ertugral taking over from Jan Versleijen yesterday.
Mekutu added that the deal was finalized before the resignation of Versleijen and he is positive that Liverpool won’t back down now.
“It is true that we (Ajax Cape Town) will be playing Liverpool. A contract was finalized a few days ago and they cannot pull out. The game is on (Friday) May 31 at the Cape Town Stadium,” Mekutu told Goal.com.
This means controversial forward Luis Suarez could play his next match in Cape Town, after receiving a 10 match ban by the English FA for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, that will see him miss the remainder of the season in England. With Liverpool set to tour Thailand and Australia in July, it is likely that Suarez will play in South Africa first.
The Urban Warriors spokesman assured their fans that Liverpool will bring their strongest possible squad to South Africa and that they expect them to field their best players.
“We are not a expecting a reserve team. So, we are expecting Liverpool with their strongest squad. These are the players we watch week in and week out. That’s what we agreed on when we signed a contract with them,” added Mekutu in confidence since Manchester United visited Ajax Cape Town in the last pre-season.
Suarez was one of the favourites for Player of the Season and the top striker in England, but the ban will see United's Robin Van Persie steer clear. It will be interesting to witness his reception in Africa, after receiving a red card for hand ball in the quarter final against Ghana, the last time he played in South Africa for Uruguay during the Fifa 2010 World Cup.
Uruguay visit Venezuela in a 2014 World Cup qualifier on June 11, so Suarez's availability could depend on his national team camp. They also travel for the Confederations Cup in Brazil from June 15 -30. Even though Ajax confirms 31 May as the match date, it could change and with a congested schedule one expects a weakened Liverpool squad. Nevertheless Suarez should be available due to suspension.
Besides hosting Liverpool on May 31, Ajax Cape Town are expected to host Newcastle and Everton for a pre-season tournament in July, but Mekutu didn’t want to speculate as yet.