An impressive group of more than 50 past and present world-class footballers, including Brazilian football legend Pelé, three-time African player of the year Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon), 1998 FIFA World Cup™ champion Christian Karembeu (France), former European player of the year Ruud Gullit (Netherlands) and South African star Lucas Radebe have confirmed their presence in the "90 Minutes for Mandela" match at the Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on 18 July (kick-off 20.00h local time and CET).
"It is a great honour and pleasure for me to have been invited to participate in this tribute to Nelson Mandela, a living symbol of the fight against all forms of racism and discrimination. I am deeply touched by the opportunity to meet this great man, whom I have always admired, and for me this will be a very important occasion," said Samuel Eto'o.
The game, which will serve as a tribute to the legendary South African statesman on the occasion of his 89th birthday, will see an Africa XI meet a Rest of the World XI.
Several other stars such as Abedi Pelé (Ghana), Rabah Madjer (Algeria), Kalusha Bwalya (Zambia), Daniel Amokachi (Nigeria) and South Africans Mark Fish and Philemon Masinga, on the African side, and Andoni Zubizarreta and Emilio Butragueño (Spain) and Wynton Rufer (New Zealand), on the Rest of the World side, have also confirmed their participation. Further details on the squads will be announced at a later date.
The sale of tickets for this unique game, organised by FIFA together with the South African Football Association (SAFA), the South African Local Organising Committee (SALOC), the Nelson Mandela Foundation and FIFPro (the international federation of professional football players), will start soon. More details will follow in the coming days on FIFA.com.
The proceeds of the match will all be earmarked for legacy programmes reaching out to young people in South Africa by using football to develop educational, health and social programmes. The exact activities will be decided and implemented in conjunction with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
This is the second time that FIFA has organised an all-star match to honour "Madiba", an honorary title that has become synonymous with Nelson Mandela in his home country. On 17 August 1999, the Nelson Mandela African XI played a World All Stars XI in a farewell match for the outgoing president of South Africa.