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Mandela family says no decision yet on World Cup final

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-07-10 21:38:47

JOHANNESBURG: Nelson Mandela has not yet decided whether he will attend the World Cup final being held in South Africa, his grandson told AFP on Sunday, just hours before the closing ceremony.

Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, who speaks on behalf of the family, said the night-time match could prove too strenuous for the Nobel laureate who turns 92 next weekend.

"The family is to take a decision and he himself has to decide," said the younger Mandela, adding that the former president`s medical team would also be consulted.

"My grandfather is turning 92, he is very elderly to stay at the stadium at night," he added.

South Africa`s anti-apartheid icon and first black president is also still in mourning for his 13-year-old great-granddaughter, who died in a car accident on the eve the tournament.

The tragedy prompted him to cancel a planned appearance at the June 11 opener.

"We`re also a family in mourning. We should allow my grandfather to mourn," Mandela said

"FIFA should have taken that into consideration and stop pressuring" for Mandela to attend, he added, saying FIFA president Sepp Blatter`s public remarks hoping for a Mandela appearance had created an unfair expectation.

But the grandson added: "It is his decision at the end of the day."

Blatter said Thursday that if Mandela came to the final, he could present the winning team with the trophy.

"If he comes and stays to the end, then it is possible he will present the trophy," Blatter said.

Since retiring from public life in 2004, Mandela has made few public appearances and his itinerary is kept secret until the last moment.

Many are aching to relive the moment at the 1995 rugby World Cup, when Mandela donned the jersey of South Africa`s victorious and mainly white Springboks, in a moment now seen as a symbol of national healing.

BDST: 1845hrs, July 11, 2010

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