National News 2010-06-03 15:17Email
| Print Johannesburg - Nelson Mandela's family insisted on Thursday the 91-year-old former South African leader was too frail to be at the opening of the World Cup, denying claims by officials that he would attend.
"I, together with the family, have taken the decision that with my grandfather being 92 years old, it would be real a challenge to take him out in a cold winters day to go and watch a game of football," his grandson Mandla Mandela told AFP.
"We, as South Africans and the international community need to start considering his health. I really know that he'll not be at the opening match."
Mandla Mandela was speaking after the South African sports minister said the icon of the anti-apartheid struggle planned to go to the first match on June 11 and the final a month later.
"He requested four tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies, and the organisers have granted his wish," Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile said in The Star newspaper.
A spokesperson for the ANC also told AFP that Mandela "will be attending the opening and closing matches of the World Cup".
Asked about the statements from the government and ANC, Mandla Mandela said: "I don't know where they take that from."