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Why Ballon d'Or Winner & Bafana Legends Are Teaming Up In Mzansi

The Bundesliga has returned to South Africa in emphatic fashion, with a FIFA World Cup-winning Ballon d'Or recipient and two Bafana Bafana legends teaming up for an iconic experience.

Click through the gallery above to see some images of Lothar Matthaus and the Bundesliga in SA.

The Bundesliga and South Africa have developed a unique relationship over the years, from the likes of Sibusiso Zuma and Delron Buckley shining in the German top flight to the coming of age of Thomas Muller at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Mzansi.

Known for precision, execution and aspirations of perfection, the league's latest visit is no different, with ambassador Lothar Matthaus making the 13 000km journey to Johannesburg for some heartwarming initiatives and to touch base with South African football fans who have been deprived of their world-class product over the past decade.

With coverage seemingly increasing via StarSat and free-to-air television, it appears that Bundesliga fans will soon have an opportunity to support their favourite teams in Mzansi on a more regular basis.

The league representatives and the 1990 Ballon d'Or winner's visit is not only about brand awareness or collaboration, it is a concerted effort to give back to those in need too.

Zuma and Matthaus immortalised

After a media briefing on Wednesday afternoon, the first act of the Bundesliga week in South Africa rolled out with an incredible mural created on the streets of Marshall Town - with the word "UBundesliga" emblazoned above autographed artwork of the two football icons.

With the play on words associated with Ubuntu, a special virtue of togetherness that the late Nelson Mandela engraved into our society, their actions in the community that followed embodied the phrase that has become synonymous with the nation's culture.

Read: Matthaus Not Tempted By Chiefs/Pirates, But Bafana

From Sandton to Diepsloot

Some 30km out of the central business district, two young Academy coaches from Bundesliga sides SV Werder Bremen and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim worked with coaches from the Safe-Hub Diepsloot. The Safe-Hub® model is designed by AMANDLA to disrupt cycles of poverty, unemployment and inequality, especially for young people growing up in poverty-stricken communities like Diepsloot.

Bundesliga International has partnered with Safe-Hub Diepsloot to support its endeavor to create a safe space for kids and youth. During Matthäus’ visit, children ranging from the ages of 5 up to 18 were put through their paces, before local coaches and kids spent some time with the Bundesliga legend, teaching him some interesting dancing warm-up techniques that he appeared to revel in.

With plenty of smiles, what is destined to be a foundation for social change could also become a platform for the next football superstar to perhaps emerge from as they are kept off the streets in a safe haven that helps them explore their talents and develop life and employment skills.

Matthaus, who currently works as a Bundesliga ambassador, is promoting the Bundesliga Experience in Johannesburg. You can visit Balfour Mall on Saturday afternoon for a fest with family activities, live DJs, a legends game including Zuma and Delron Buckley, among others, and the screening of Borussia Monchengladbach vs Borussia Dortmund, which could be a decider in the German title race!


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