SA Football Association (Safa) joined the millions of people around the world in mourning the passing away of former State President Dr Nelson Mandela.
Mandela died at his home in Houghton around 8:50pm on Thursday.
“Madiba was responsible for lifting the spirits of our football nation from the talks to unite the Association to victory at the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations,” Safa President Danny Jordaan said in a statement on Friday.
“He served as the catalyst in our bid for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.”
Jordaan said while they had been watching Mandela’s deteriorating health over the last year, they were all still shocked by his passing.
Safa called on the entire football community to observe a moment of silence before every match they play in honour of this hero who inspired our nation to achieve in our sport and to work to emulate his example.
Blatter hails ‘extraordinary’ Mandela
The international football community on Thursday learnt the sad news of the passing of former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela. Fifa President Blatter has expressed his deepest sympathy at the loss of such an iconic figure and hailed Mandela.
He said: “It is in deep mourning that I pay my respects to an extraordinary person, probably one of the greatest humanists of our time and a dear friend of mine: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
“He and I shared an unwavering belief in the extraordinary power of football to unite people in peace and friendship, and to teach basic social and educational values as a school of life.
“When he was honoured and cheered by the crowd at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium on 11 July 2010, it was as a man of the people, a man of their hearts, and it was one of the most moving moments I have ever experienced. For him, the World Cup in South Africa truly was ‘a dream come true’.
“Nelson Mandela will stay in our hearts forever. The memories of his remarkable fight against oppression, his incredible charisma and his positive values will live on in us and with us.
“As a mark of respect and mourning, the flags of the 209 member associations at the Home of Fifa will be flown at half-mast and there will be a minute’s silence before the next round of international matches.”