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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 27, 2008

Man United expect to return to South Africa

Sir Alex Ferguson has indicated that Manchester United are likely to return to South Africa in the near future.

The club have a huge following in the country and the supporters were left satisfied as well at seeing the team lift the Vodacom Challenge trophy.

Substitutes Tom Cleverley and Fraizer Campbell joined established stars like Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney on the scoresheet in the 4-0 defeat of Kaizer Chiefs.

Two years earlier United had lost to the Chiefs in a penalty shoot-out - but they were much too strong for the opposition this time, especially in the second half.

United spent a week in South Africa and Ferguson can already see a third visit after his side played in Cape Town, Durban and finally Pretoria.

He said: 'There has been dialogue and one suggestion was about us coming back after the 2010 World Cup. But I do not know if that would work. That might be too early after the World Cup.

'I think once the World Cup is over people will probably need a rest from football.

'There are going to be a lot of people in the country at that time. But there will be another opportunity, I am sure.'

United also held a number of off-field initiatives during their stay and Ferguson believes they have much to be proud of.

He said: 'We do random checks on how many fans we have throughout the world. There are estimates of 15 million fans in South Africa, although you are never quite sure of the figures.

'I think we saw during the games there are lot of Manchester United supporters in South Africa and that is very encouraging.

'We are delighted with our contribution in coming here to see the supporters.'

Giggs opened the scoring in the final five minutes before half time following a cross from Lee Martin.

That opened the floodgates and Rooney capped an industrious performance by extending their lead.

Then midfielder Cleverley marked his senior debut at 18 with a cool finish following a knock-down from Rooney and Campbell sealed an emphatic victory with the fourth goal.

Cleverley, who only arrived in South Africa on Thursday along with fellow teenagers Craig Cathcart and Rodrigo Possebon, savoured the moment.

He said: 'It was an unbelievable day, especially as Paul Scholes came on to play alongside me. I'm pretty speechless. I got the call on Tuesday to say I'd be coming out to South Africa so it's all happened very quickly.

'I came on and did quite well and got a goal - I feel very proud.'

Ferguson was delighted with the way the youngsters responded in front of a big, passionate crowd at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

He said he intends to send Northern Ireland defender Cathcart out on loan but Possebon will stay with the first team squad.

Ferguson added: 'They are all at a good age in terms of us judging them and most have been out on loan. Jonny Evans had a good spell at Sunderland and was instrumental in them staying up. Frazier Campbell was instrumental in bringing Hull up.

'Lee Martin was unfortunate with injuries but he showed what he can do by setting up first goal. He has potential.

'Craig Cathcart is looking much stronger after injury and the intention is to put him on loan this season.

'Possebon will stay as he has potential for first team football while Cleverley is just a young lad and has time on his side. All the young players have good potential.'

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