Mandela meets Ghana’s Black Stars

July 3rd, 2010

"(Ghana) represented the continent well and although they did not qualify for the semi-finals they can return home with their heads held high," (Photo: Getty Images)

Nelson Mandela met Ghana’s Black Stars football team on Saturday, welcoming the FIFA World Cup™’s most successful African side to his home the night after their narrow loss to Uruguay in the quarter-finals.

South Africa’s first black president had sent a letter to the Black Stars before their match, wishing them well as the last representatives of Africa in the first FIFA World Cup to be held on the continent. “We join everybody on the continent and in the diaspora in wishing you success,” the letter said.

Mandela’s foundation on Saturday praised the Black Stars for their performance in the tournament. “They represented the continent well and although they did not qualify for the semi-finals they can return home with their heads held high,” it said in a statement.

The foundation said the Ghana team wanted to meet Mandela to pass on their respects after the death of his great-granddaughter, Zenani Mandela, 13, in a car crash on her way home from a FIFA World Cup concert on the eve of the tournament. The tragedy cast a shadow over the opening ceremony as Mandela, 91, cancelled plans to attend in order to mourn with his family.

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