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Final Goodbye: Nelson Mandela with 10 sporting legends

Top 5 / Top 10 17 Dec 2013, 16:35 IST

“Sport has the power to change the world…it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.” – Nelson Mandela.

As South Africans and many worldwide still mourn the death of former South African president Nelson Mandela, we take a look at 10 meetings that the great man had with legends from the sporting world.

1) Pele and Samuel Eto’o

Former South African President, Nelson Mandela, receiving from Brazilian football legend Pele (L) and Cameroon striker, Samuel Eto’o, the jersey, that was used by the African and FIFA Invitation teams during the “90 Minutes for Mandela” match, that was played at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on 18 July, 2007

Cameroonian footballer Samuel Eto’o met Nelson Mandela in July 2007, when he presented the former president with a jersey which was being used in the ‘90 minutes for Mandela’ charity match in Cape Town.

Brazilian football legend – Pele – was a dear friend of Mandela’s. The pair have met on various occasions such as Pele visiting South Africa and the then president Mandela in 1995, when organising a trip for the Brazilian team to tour South Africa and also playing for Mandela in the celebrity charity football game. Pele has also presented Mandela with a signed No.10 Brazilian jersey. Pele who is regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest footballer to have ever played, tweeted his sentiments about the South African politician after news broke out of his passing.

“He was my hero, my friend,” Pele tweeted. “He was my companion in the struggle for the popular cause and for world peace. Let us carry on his work. He was one of the most influential people in my life.”

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