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Posted on 14 July 2011  - 12:00

Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates supporters made sure the squad touched down to a carnival atmosphere at Johannesburg Airport on Thursday morning.

Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates supporters made sure the squad touched down to a carnival atmosphere at Johannesburg Airport on Thursday morning.

Our early arrival didn't dampen the spirits of the home fans who were there to greet us in typical, vibrant South African fashion, all singing, all dancing with the big glasses, fantastically-decorated miner's helmets and, of course, one or two vuvuzelas!

They were joined at the airport by our South African-based fans, determined to get an early glimpse of the team.

Michael Dawson, Kevin Bond and Gary Mabbutt, here in his Club Ambassador's role, then attended a press conference to mark the start of the Vodacom Challenge.

The greeting here was just as generous from representatives of the Pirates and Chiefs, the Gauteng Dept of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Vodacom and tournament organisers SAIL.

Jabu Mathibela of SAIL summed up the feeling towards us. "We welcome back our friends from Tottenham Hotspur," he said. "They were successful here in 2007 and their brand of football ignites the imagination. It's a treat for us to see them take on Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates."

Both Pirates and Chiefs are determined to triumph in the Vodacom Challenge.

We beat the Pirates 3-0 in the 2007 final and Mickey Modisane, communications manager of the 'Bucaneers', said: "We all remember what happened in that final in Pretoria but we've worked so hard, beefed up in all departments, and the tables will be turned!"

mabbsy

'Mabbsy', who was also an ambassador for South Africa's successful World Cup bid, underlined that we were delighted to be back.

"We enjoyed a wonderful welcome at the airport and it's great to be back," he said.

"It's the third time in nine years we've travelled to South Africa including the World Cup bid matches back in 2003.

"I was part of the World Cup bid team for eight years and that gave me some of the proudest moments I've had in the game.

"This will be ideal preparation for what will be a tough season ahead back in the Premier League, one we all hope will be both exciting and successful."