By Stefen Lovelace
The World Cup has finally arrived. The biggest sporting event in the world starts today, with Mexico playing host South Africa at 10 a.m. EST in Johannesburg.
There will be millions of people in South Africa for this event, and tons of people watching the World Cup opener. There will be one notable exception this morning though.
Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa, and one of the world’s foremost humanitarians, will not be attending this morning’s game. Tragedy struck the Mandela family yesterday, when Mandela’s 13-year-old great-granddaughter Zenani Mandela was killed in a one-car accident after attending the World Cup kickoff concert in Orlando Stadium.
It’s incredibly sad that Mandela won’t be able to attend. He’s done so much for South Africa and played a big role in getting the World Cup to come to the country. Unfortunately, family must come first.
Not having Mandela isn’t lost on anyone.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter wrote to Nelson Mandela, describing the young girl's death as "unspeakably tragic."
Blatter said Friday he fully understands that Mandela cannot attend the opening ceremony and first match, and wrote that Mandela will "be with us in spirit, for which we are incredibly grateful."
It’s great that the World Cup is finally upon us, and countries all over the world will be celebrating. While you watch the games, and enjoy the United States versus England game tomorrow, keep Mandela in your thoughts and prayers.
Stefen Lovelace is an Associate Account Executive. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.