Nelson Mandela to greet fans at Soccer City before the World Cup final, grandson says

By Fisnik Abrashi, AP
Sunday, July 11, 2010

Grandson: Nelson Mandela to greet WCup fans

JOHANNESBURG — Nelson Mandela will greet fans ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final at Soccer City, his grandson says.

The 91-year-old anti-apartheid icon will then go home and watch the final between Spain and Netherlands, Mandla Mandela told The Associated Press.

“He said that he wants to come out and greet fans at the stadium,” Mandla said, adding that the former South African president was resting Sunday afternoon so he could be “fresh and energetic” for the appearance. The match between Spain and the Netherlands was to kick off at 8:30 p.m. local time.

Mandela has kept a low profile during the monthlong tournament, having decided against attending the opening game on June 11 following the death of his great-granddaughter.

Earlier, Mandla Mandela criticized FIFA for putting “extreme pressure” on the man who led South Africa out of apartheid to attend the World Cup final.

He said FIFA was being “inconsiderate,” given that the family is still in mourning.

“My grandfather has recently lost a great-granddaughter and the family is in mourning,” Mandela said. “They should be appraised of our customs and traditions.”

Mandela’s 13-year-old great-granddaughter, Zenani Mandela, was killed in a car crash while returning from the World Cup opening concert.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said it would be “wonderful” for Mandela to be at the final, having been instrumental in bringing the first World Cup to Africa.

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