Madiba at opening match will be a bonus- Zuma

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pretoria- As excitement mounts with only four days to go till Bafana Bafana's clash with Mexico on Friday at Soccer City, former President Nelson Mandela's presence, if he is able to attend, will be a bonus.

"If he is there it will be a bonus," President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday. The former president's family has said that he is too frail to attend.

"We all know that the former president has aged. This is a decision that President Mandela will make. He said of his own that he'd love to be there, whether he'll be there or not I think depends entirely on him. If he appears we'll be very happy even if he does not appear we'll understand," said Zuma.

At a briefing on Sunday on the state of readiness of the country ahead of the kick-off of the World Cup, Zuma paid homage to the former president for the role he played in clinching the tournament.

Zuma said it was through Mandela's efforts to achieve reconciliation and to build a thriving rainbow nation that the country was bestowed with hosting the event.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter who met with Mandela three days ago said that it was the former president's wish to be present on Friday but that even if he does not make it "his spirit will be present".

Mexican President Felipe Calderon will be in the country to witness the clash between his country and South Africa.

"Don't ask me what the score will be," joked Zuma referring to the opening match.