Doha - South Africa's 1995 rugby World Cup winning captain Francois Pienaar says he is hoping that hospitalised Nelson Mandela "will be celebrating his 95th birthday and many more to come".
Anti-apartheid hero Mandela, who is being treated for a lung infection, famously presented Pienaar with the World Cup trophy after the Springboks won the title on home soil several months after he had become South Africa's first black president.
With Mandela wearing a Springbok jersey bearing Afrikaner Pienaar's number the encounter became a symbol of hope for post-apartheid South Africa and was the subject of Clint Eastwood's film Invictus.
Pienaar, attending the Doha Goals forum conference on Tuesday, said: "Friends have been in contact with him (Mandela) in South Africa. And of course he's not in great shape but not too bad either.
"Obviously as soon as Madiba (Mandela's clan name) is hospitalised for a check-up all the media talks about it.
"It's normal because he's someone who has left his stamp on people. But we can't forget that he is 94 years old... and we're hoping he'll be able to celebrate his 95th birthday and many more besides."
Mandela, admitted to hospital four days ago, is responding to treatment, the government said earlier on Tuesday.