Kalusha to feature in a special FIFA football match in honour of Mandela
The delegation, led by Acting President Jack Warner, will grace the Newlands
stadium on Wednesday to witness a soccer match featuring some of the finest former
football legends from both the African continent and the rest of the world.
The players include multi-African footballer of the year winner, Samuel Etoo,
retired Bafana Bafana Captain, Lucas Radebe, former Zambian International Kalusha
Bwalya, Doctor Khumalo and Philemon Masinga, whose only goal gave Bafana a ticket
to participate in the 1998 World Cup for the first time.
As part of the festivities to mark the 89th birthday of Mr Mandela, FIFA President
Sepp Blatter will confer honorary membership status on the Makana Football
The association was formed by a group of political prisoners held on Robben Island
during the apartheid era.
While in confinement on the island, political prisoners played organised football
matches as members of the Makana FA, adhering strictly to the FIFA statutes.
“They are a strong symbol of FIFA’s fight to eradicate racism and all forms of
discrimination from football and sport, and it is only fitting that their efforts
be recognised with this honorary membership,” said Mr Blatter in a statement.
The event will also underline the commitment of the former inmates of Robben
Island, who used the power of football as an instrument of resistance against the
“We are happy that the game and FIFA’s conferring of honorary membership status on
the Makana FA will be recognition of the contribution of the freedom fighters led
by Nelson Mandela on Robben Island.
“Those political prisoners defied the apartheid rules, but adhered strictly to
FIFA’s rules on the island,” said Tokyo Sexwale, a high commissioner of FIFA’s “Say
No to Racism” campaign.
Mr Sexwale is also a former Robben Island political prisoner himself.Â
The event on Robben Island precedes the star-studded “90 Minutes for Mandela” game
between the Africa XI and the Rest of the World XI at the Newlands Stadium with
kick-off time set at 8pm.
Tickets for the game are available at Computicket and are priced at R30 for general
admission, R50 for grandstand seats and R120 for suite tickets.
The proceeds of the match are earmarked for social programmes including Mr
Mandela’s “46664″ global HIV and AIDS campaign.
During the game, players will feature Mr Mandela’s “46664″ prison number on their
football jerseys to indicate their support for the awareness campaign to stop the
spread of HIV and AIDS.
“FIFA’s tribute to a great leader who symbolises humanity’s ability to triumph over
adversity, injustice and discrimination is very timely. In a divided world, sport
can play a critical role in overcoming divisions between people.
“During their incarceration on Robben Island, sport, and the beautiful game of
football in particular, kept the prisoners physically, mentally and spiritually fit
and able to continue their heroic struggle for equality and freedom,” said Achmat
Dangor, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
The delegation arriving this afternoon also includes South Africa’s 2010 Local
Organising Committee’s Chief Executive Officer, Danny Jordaan who is on a chartered
Mr Jordaan said the all-star game at Newlands was “a celebration of the life of one
of the great African icons”.
“As we move towards preparing for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, we celebrate Nelson
Mandela’s birthday in recognition of his personal contribution and sacrifices to
help South Africa and Africa host its first World Cup, and this event demonstrates
the values and importance of the game of football as a vehicle of hope.” -