One of the leading sports journalists in the country, who really cherished the game of football, will not be at Newlands Stadium tonight for the kickoff of the "90 Minutes for Mandela" match because he is no more.
He died in a car crash. I last saw Maseru Koaho at the news conference to announce the tribute match about 12 days ago and, as always, the man was his ebullient self, chasing after interviews and whatever was new about the World Cup.
Koaho was passionate about 2010 and had immersed himself in the coverage of this event. He had taken ownership of the story and at the Local Organsing Committee, and for me personally as a former colleague, we deeply respected his positive attitude.
Coincidentally, the last time I saw him, Jomo Sono revealed to us that he was nearly killed in a car accident the night before.
These incidents make tonight's game even more poignant in that we are celebrating 89 years of a man who continues to live his life as a force for good.
At his age, Madiba is still refusing to tire, inviting some of his influential friends, Messrs Kofi Annan, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu to rally with him in the quest for good in this world.
It is no wonder then that a genius of yesteryear, a veteran who caused a sensation when he exploded on the international football stage way back in 1958 when he was only 17, has also decided to take part in the tribute game.
That young man, simply known as Pele, has gone on to inspire multitudes of young from poor backgrounds to become stars in their own right.
Yesterday, Pele, modimo wa bolo as many would like it to be, was accompanied by the three times African Footballer of Year Samuel Eto'o to visit and pay respect to the "old man". The young Cameroonian, a darling of African football, fully understands the point of the game tonight, an opportunity to also "say no to racism".
Eto'o has been a target of racist taunts in Spain, and a couple of years back stormed off the field and refused to play after such a hate-filled ordeal.
Tonight in Cape Town, he, together with other stars who believe in justice and respect for human dignity, will be playing to pay tribute as well as take a stance against racism.
This match is a confirmation that sport, and football in particular, is becoming an important social movement that can be used to advance important causes.
The same is happening with the preparations for the World Cup where my colleagues are working on various programmes to leave a social legacy.
They include the legacy and volunteer programmes, and I will discuss these in detail in future articles. As for the game itself, I know my colleagues in the Organising Committee and Fifa have worked very hard to present an excellent spectacle. We are happy "Mjomana" will be on the bench and we will remember our fallen brother Maseru Koaho, as we celebrate a life well lived through football.
l Tim Modise is the 2010 World Cup SA Local Organising Committee's head of communications. - For your suggestions, queries and more on 2010 e-mailTimM@2010saloc.com