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SA loves football - Rafa

Rafa van der Vaart says you can feel the love for football in South Africa.

Rafa van der Vaart says you can feel the love for football in South Africa.

And he knows better than most having gone all the way to the final in last summer's World Cup.

Holland were eventually beaten by Spain in the final last July, but the tournament as a whole and especially the atmosphere generated by fans in South Africa made a real impression on Rafa.

"We had a great tournament last summer," said Rafa, who completed a busy summer last year by joining us from Real Madrid.

"Football is really big there, especially after the World Cup. I’m sure the stadiums will be full and it will be a great atmosphere.

"They love football, the whole country, you can feel that.

"The people want to see the games, they want to be at the stadium. You could see that at the World Cup. That was a great experience.

"We’ll go there to play three games and work hard. I’m looking forward to it."

Rafa has already been given the inside track on our opposition in the Vodacom Challenge.

We kick-off against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday before facing SA champions Orlando Pirates on Tuesday week, July 19.

Chiefs and Pirates meet on July 21 and we'll take on the winners at Johannesburg's famous Coca-Cola (Ellis) Park on Saturday week, July 23.

"They will be tough games because the teams over there are really strong," added Rafa, who marked his first season at Spurs with 15 goals in all competitions.

"I had a quick chat with Steven Pienaar and he told me that the teams in South Africa are strong, so I’m sure they will be a test and ideal friendly matches for us."