Sportsmen owed their success to Mandela

2013-12-08 14:01

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Former Bafana Bafana coach Jomo Sono is one of football’s biggest beneficiaries of Madiba magic?–?he was given Nelson Mandela’s blessing before the 2002 Fifa World Cup.

Sono said it was through Madiba that he received the opportunity to coach Bafana Bafana.

“He got involved in the dispute between me and Carlos Queiroz. We had some differences and I stood up for myself. We ended up at Madiba’s house with Danny Jordaan and Carlos. Madiba ended up saying that I should take over the national team,” Sono said.

“He listened to us for a long time and got down to the reasons for the argument. At the end of the day, I got the job.”

Sono said living up to Madiba’s expectations would be nigh on impossible but it was up to each individual to do the good that Mandela made part of his life.

That would be the only way to continue his legacy.

“It would be to build the same tree that he made for us and we can do that. It is a huge demand because it will involve forgiving and most of us are not very good at forgiving. Most of us walk around with grudges and he didn’t do that.”

Cricket SA (CSA) chief executive Haroon Lorgat said there were plans to celebrate Madiba’s life at today’s ODI against India at Kingsmead in Durban.

Lorgat said he and cricket had benefited greatly from Madiba’s goodwill and benevolence.

Cricket was the one sport that flouted the Gleneagles agreement when overseas teams breached the sporting boycott and toured South Africa at the height of apartheid.

“The fact that I’m standing here is testimony to the sacrifices Madiba made. I would not have got to the [International Cricket Council] and become [CSA] CEO. Most South Africans can attribute their success and achievements to Madiba’s struggles,” Lorgat said.

“We will use the ODI as a mark of respect and to acknowledge Madiba’s contribution. We hope it will be a small way to say thank you to him. Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane will join us for a prayer.”

Former Bafana captain Lucas Radebe played for the team that got the first dose of Madiba magic in 1994.

The game was against Zambia and Bafana scored two goals in two minutes after meeting Madiba. He said it was important to continue Mandela’s legacy in the best way possible.

“Through him we learnt that nothing is impossible and that is the attitude we need to take with us going forward,” Radebe said.

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