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South African Football Association (Safa) President Danny Jordaan has added his voice to the global chorus of condolences to the family of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

“The association, on behalf of the football community in the country, wants to send its most heartfelt condolences to the family of Madiba.

“The football community will fondly remember everything that is good about this proud hero of our struggle against everything that divided this nation,” he said.

In paying tribute to the 95-year-old former statesman, Jordaan said Madiba was responsible for lifting the spirits of the football nation - from the talks to unite the association, to victory at the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations.

According to Jordaan, Madiba was the catalyst in South Africa’s bid for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

“While we had been watching Madiba's deteriorating health over the last year, we are all still shocked by his passing, which will always remain untimely as our nation still has much to achieve.

“However, his encouragement to our players on the field of play will forever be etched in our collective memories.

“We call on the entire football community of our nation 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,” he said.

Tribute from Mandela’s former private secretary

Zelda la Grange, Mandela’s former private secretary, said the late former President inspired people to forgive, reconcile, care, be selfless, tolerant, and maintain dignity no matter what the circumstances.

“I can attest to each of these because these are the ways in which he changed my life over the past 19 years. I am blessed and honoured by the privilege to have had the opportunity to serve him.

“As we grieve the departure of Madiba, I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I will never see him again, but heroes never die.

“As sad as it makes me that I will never walk into a room again and see his generous, infectious smile or hear him say ‘Oh Zeldina, you are here’, I have come to terms with the fact that Madiba's legacy is not dependent on his presence.”

La Grange said his legacy will live on beyond everything that has been named after him.

“It will live on in how we feel when we hear his name, the respect and love, the unity he inspired in us as a country but particularly, how we relate to one another.

“Madiba will forever be present in my life because he made me into the human being I am today,” she said. -