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SAFA president Danny Jordaan: 'With Maradona's death, a piece of football has died'

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Diego Maradona (AP)
Diego Maradona (AP)

The South African Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan has delivered a moving eulogy to the late football icon Diego Maradona who died of cardiac arrest on Wednesday.

The former Argentina and Napoli captain was 60.

"Maradona was a football man. He put a human face on football. He was always accessible to football supporters and to the youth," said Jordaan from Cairo, Egypt where he will attend Friday’s CAF Champions League final between Zamalek and Pitso Mosimane-coached Al Ahly.

The SAFA boss said any young boy or girl who would approach Maradona with a ball, he would immediately light up a smile on the football star’s face.

"He would immediately take the ball, juggle with it and pose for pictures," Jordaan said as quoted by SAFA media.

"Maradona was a supporter of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the entire African continent.

"At one stage, he told me he was worried as Argentina almost failed to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World. That qualification helped him to live his dream – to be the coach of his country in an African World Cup."

Jordaan said Maradona was the only one of the 32 coaches who came to meet the staff who delivered the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

"The staff behind the delivery of the event took pictures with Maradona at the headquarters of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

"He then went to FNB Stadium to meet former South African footballers and that was a rewarding experience for both parties," recalled Jordaan.

"So, with Maradona’s death, a piece of football has died, the human face of football.

"He is clearly one of the greatest footballers ever to walk the earth.

"We will miss him, all those who worked in the 2010 FIFA World Cup will miss him; football will miss," concluded Jordaan.

- TEAMtalk media

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