TWO football fans fulfilled a long-standing dream by travelled 6,000 miles to see Sunderland in action.
Joao Canada and son Jose made the trip from Johannesburg to Wearside for Saturday’s game with Liverpool after winning a competition.
The first Barclays Premier League Live event held in the South African city last year saw more than 30,000 football fans turn up to learn more about their favourite clubs.
Among the prizes on offer was the chance to win a trip to the Stadium of Light, including return flights from Johannesburg, courtesy of club partner South African Airways, as well as four nights’ accommodation and VIP hospitality at the Liverpool match.
Ahead of the game, a 1-0 defeat for the home side, Joao and Jose were given a tour of the stadium and were presented with personalised SAFC replica shirts by club commercial director Gary Hutchinson.
The pair were also given a tour of Sunderland’s training base, the Academy of Light, where Jose was offered the opportunity to take part in a practice session with academy members.
Jose said: “It’s been a great experience to come over for the game and also to meet lots of new people.
“The training session with the academy team was really intense and at a very high level.
“I hope to be able to keep working hard and, one day, play at this level.”
Gary added: “We were delighted to host Joao and Jose at the Stadium of Light.
“Premier League Live in Johannesburg was such a fantastic event, and it was great to be able to offer fans in Africa this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a matchday with the Black Cats.
“We are enjoying an ever-growing profile on the continent as part of the SAFC in Africa initiative, and we were honoured to take part in Premier League Live and look forward to meeting more fans in the future.”