Madiba gets health wish

FIFA President Sepp Blatter says his organisation wishes that Nelson Mandela could witness the soccer World Cup on June 11 here.

"We all hope Nelson Mandela's dream of attending the opening match will become a reality," said Blatter in a video link from Zurich at the weekend.

The opening match is between Bafana Bafana and Mexico at Soccer City outside Soweto.

"This World Cup will prompt the complete integration of all the people in South Africa," Blatter said.

He said that the thought of an African team doing well in the competition was not far-fetched.

"African players are at least as talented as players from Europe and South America. The only things they occasionally lack are tactics and consistency.

"It'll be hard for them at the Fifa World Cup, because there are only six African participants, but there are 18 teams from Europe and South America, so they have an advantage.

"I think the world of football would like to see an African team in the Fifa World Cup semifinals. Remember Cameroon in 1990 or Senegal at the 2002 finals."

Bafana Bafana drew 0-0 with North Korea in an international friendly in Germany last week.

Blatter warned that if Bafana Bafana play in the World cup like they did against North Korea, chances of going forward are minimal.

"We want the World Cup to leave a lasting legacy in Africa," Blatter said.