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Barry looking forward to challenge

Gareth Barry at MCFC stadium June 2009

Gareth Barry at MCFC stadium June 2009

Gareth Barry believes that the two games in South Africa this week will be a tough examination for the Blues.

The new look City squad faces Orlando Pirates tomorrow afternoon and then Kaizer Chiefs on Tuesday evening.

There will be those who expect the Premier League side to stroll through the matches but Barry is savvy enough realise that will not be the case particularly as City’s senior stars have get to get their teeth into pre-season action.

“The standard of football is very high over here, and it will be a real test in our build-up to the start of our own season,” he told a press conference in Polokwane before adding that he was looking forward to returning to the country for next summer’s World Cup.

“England are not too far away from qualifying, so fingers crossed I’ll be here with my international team mates too in a year's time."

After the stop-over in Abu Dhabi for some of the players, City's squad is now all together for the Vodacom Challenge.

Roque Santa Cruz, Barry and Carlos Tevez, Stephen Ireland and the manager touched down in Johannesburg for a few hours after flying in from Abu Dhabi, before heading north to Polokwane.

City's CEO Garry Cook and Barry faced the press to launch the Vodacom Challenge.

"The Pirates and the Chiefs are two great clubs, and it is truly an honour and a privilege to be here to carry on the tradition that has been built in this competition,” Cook told the audience.

"This tournament is one of the biggest ones of all pre-season tournaments, we are preparing for the upcoming Premier League campaign and this is a big part of that.

"The experience of bringing players to South Africa in the year before the World Cup will help our international players. We have Gareth here with us and I am sure he will look forward to a successful World Cup campaign in this country.

Tomorrow’s game with the Pirates kicks off at 2pm and is being beamed back live to the stadium environs and will also be shown on www.mcfc.co.uk

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