More Madiba Magic

Posted November 19th, 2010 at 4:20 pm (UTC-4)
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World Cup Fan

I was in Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg for the World Cup final 11 July between Spain and the Netherlands.  More than 84,000 fans were in attendance that night, and it seemed like every one of them was blowing a vuvuzela.  I wouldn’t say the match itself, though, was much to toot your horn over.  It was a foul-plagued affair, with the Spaniards finally prevailing, 1-0, on an extra time goal by Andres Iniesta in the 116th minute.

Nelson Mandela

Some of the loudest cheers in the stadium that night took place before the game even kicked off, and they were for the man affectionately known as “Madiba.”  Former South African President Nelson Mandela made a brief appearance, waving to the big crowd from a motorized golf cart.  It was a chilly evening in Johannesburg, and Mr. Mandela, who wore a winter coat, was quickly escorted from the stadium.

A week after the World Cup final, Mr. Mandela celebrated his 92nd birthday, and now, more than four months after football’s biggest event, the former South African President continues to show his passion for soccer, the world’s most popular sport.

Photo Credit: Debbie Yazbek/Nelson Mandela Foundation

The South African icon met this week with the national football teams from the United States and South Africa, who played in the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge match in Cape Town.  For USA coach Bob Bradley (seated to the right of Mr. Mandela in photo on left) and the youthful American squad, it was clearly a magical experience to meet “Madiba.”

“Mr. Mandela is one of the most significant and inspirational leaders of our time,” said Coach Bradley, “and to meet him personally is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

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Sonny Side of Sports is an energetic and action-packed look at both world and African sports, broadcast on radio, TV and the Internet. Since the show’s creation in 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

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