Newcastle Utd’s trip to South Africa Vodacom Challenge in doubt

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew

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NEWCASTLE United’s tour to South Africa is in doubt – leaving the club with a pre-season headache.

Reports in the country have suggested that the annual Vodacom Challenge has been cancelled.

The four-team tournament had been expected to feature Newcastle and Sowetan clubs Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.

It was reportedly to be staged in Durban, a port city on the country’s east coast.

However, United, up to now, have been silent on their expected involvement in the competition, which was won by Tottenham Hotspur last year.

And Pretoria club SuperSport United have also failed to sign up for the tournament, which has been running since 1999.

The two Manchester clubs have also played in the Vodacom Challenge in recent seasons.

It is unclear whether Newcastle have a back-up plan should they not travel to South Africa.

SportMail understands the club planned to spend around 10 days in the country, which invested heavily in its football stadiums for the 2010 World Cup.

Newcastle today declined to comment on speculation that the tournament has been cancelled.

Up to now, Newcastle – who toured the United States last summer – have only confirmed three pre-season games.

The club will face Olympiacos and FC Porto in the Guadiana Torneo on the Algarve, Portugal late next month.

Newcastle take on Olympiacos on July 27, and FC Porto 24 hours later.

And United will also visit Championship club Cardiff City on August 11.