Nelson Mandela honoured by professional players06 July 2009

The international professional football players union, FIFPro, honoured Nelson Mandela on 3rd of July at a small ceremony at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, in Johannesburg, in recognition of Mr Mandela’s contribution towards non-racism and peace and his commitment to football.

Receiving the award on his behalf was Foundation trustee and current Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale.

Presented by FIFPro Division Africa Executive Member Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe, the award symbolised all professional footballers’ respect for Madiba as well as their support in continuing Mr Mandela’s legacy.

We as world football players feel honoured to have lived in the same era as Nelson Mandela, said Gaoshubelwe at the event. Through football we will do what we can to spread peace. We will fill the stadia and spread the message to bring peace. We will use our status as you have done to advance the goodness of the human race.

The best player in the world

On behalf of FIFPro, the South African Football Players’ Union and the world players, we would like to confer this award for peace on Nelson Mandela. It’s a great honour to bestow this award on Nelson Mandela for his pursuit of equality, peace and justice. May his, Madiba’s, legacy live on forever.

It is the first and only award of this nature that FIFPro will confer on anyone.

“In the future we will recognise players who have used their status to help others in a similar fashion, but this is a special award for leadership and anti-racism, said Chris Fortuin on behalf of the FIFPro Division Africa.

It’s a bit like the players’ player award , but this is the world’s professional footballers’ recognition of Madiba, the best player in the world.