Nelson Mandela – Sport has the power to change the world
Mandela was a driven athlete, an amateur boxer who ran two hours every morning as a young man.
He kept himself in excellent shape during his 27 years in prison.
But it was a sport to which he had little attachment which would change his life and cement his legacy.
A year after winning South Africa’s first democratic elections, the then-ANC leader revealed his acute political antennae as South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
Madiba’s touch would be Midas in how he turned the Springbok green into match-winning gold.
Two years later, Mandela and South Africa repeated the trick – this time with soccer as South Africa used home soil to win the Africa Cup of Nations.
Mandela’s true football legacy came when South Africa was awarded the honour of staging the 2010 World Cup finals.
“It is thanks to Mandela that the world could finally trust us to deliver this event at a world-class level. “He gave us a momentum and self-belief that we could achieve what many thought was impossible and we, and this country, will be forever grateful”, said SAFA President Danny Jordaan.
On Mandela Day 2020 we honour the man who reminded us that sport has the power to change the world.