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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Legends meet Mandela
Pele is one of 50 stars who will honour Nelson Mandela's birthday
Three-time African Footballer of the Year Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon and Brazilian great Pele delivered a special birthday gift to Nelson Mandela.

The two players are among 50 past and present international stars taking part in a football match - "90 Minutes for Mandela" - to mark the former South African president's 89th birthday on Wednesday.

A smiling Mandela received an official shirt for the match with his name and number 89 on the back.

"I am deeply honoured to receive this tribute ... but it must always be remembered that I was one of many who fought for freedom from tyranny and racism," Mandela said.

The match, to be played in Cape Town, will pit an Africa side against a rest of the world team.

"I have met a lot of great personalities in my life but Nelson Mandela is an extraordinary person," Pele said.

"I am really touched and honoured to lead the Rest of the World team in his birthday match. I am a big admirer of what this man has achieved in his life."

Mandela praised football's world governing body, Fifa, for honouring the Makana Football Association, which was formed by political prisoners on Robben Island, where he was incarcerated for 18 of the 27 years he spent in jail.

Mandela watched games from his cell window until prison authorities built a wall to further cut him off.

Fifa vice president Jack Warner will confer honorary Fifa membership on the Makana association before Wednesday's match.

Mandela also discussed a number of topics, including the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, in a private meeting with the players as well as Fifa and local football representatives at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg.

Stars named for Mandela match
12 Jul 07 |  African
Fifa honours inmate footballers
05 Jul 07 |  African


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