Vincent Kompany opened the Blues' pre-season tour by declaring he was honoured to visit South Africa.
Speaking at an arrival press conference at the team hotel in Durban, the skipper expressed his delight at getting preparations underway on the soccer-mad continent.
“This is my first time here and it a real honour to be in South Africa,” Kompany enthused.
“Personally, it is very important for me at this particular time as Nelson Mandela is a hero of mine and someone that I have always looked up to.”
“We are all very happy to be here.”
The team will play two friendly games during their stay - against SuperSport in Pretoria on Sunday before facing Durban based AmaZulu on 18 July.
As the squad kick-starts its pre-season preparations, the captain assured both games will be played in the most competitive of spirits.
“Anyone who knows me knows that if I was playing a game right now in the front lawn it would be competitive,” smiled the skipper.
“As long as two teams are on the pitch wearing different colours, it will be competitive.”
New manager Manuel Pellegrini sat alongside the captain on stage and echoed Vincent’s sentiments.
“It is a pleasure to be here in South Africa where we have the honour of playing on Nelson Mandela Day against a local team,” said the manager.
“It is a great place to come for the players as they return from their summer break.”