Cape Town - The South African Football Association (SAFA) CEO Dennis Mumble wrote a heartfelt letter in commemoration of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Following the passing of Madikizela-Mandela on Monday, the tribute letter was published on the official SAFA website.
Read the letter below:
On Monday, 2 April, we received the sad news of the passing of one of the greatest icons of our liberation struggle, Mama Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
We have extended our most heartfelt condolences to the family of Mama Winnie in the hope that it would serve as comfort in a time of great sadness.
Mama Winnie has had a long association with South African Football as she saw our sport as a great unifier and a key player in building social cohesion during the struggle against apartheid and part of the nation building effort after 1994.
She also played a role as a key motivator for the acquisition of the hosting rights for the FIFA World Cup, helping the Bid Team during the bidding phase and ultimately paying numerous visits to SAFA House to encourage the LOC staff to do their best in preparation for hosting the World Cup in 2010.
It is these pep talks from Mama Winnie that led to the delivery of the best FIFA World Cup ever. The world marvelled at the way South Africa organised that FIFA World Cup.
As a small gesture of its gratitude to Mama Winnie for the many ways in which she supported SAFA, the Association was in the process of launching the annual Winnie Mandela Challenge that would see a special match played in her honour by Banyana Banyana against a world-class opponent every year.
We feel that this is a fitting tribute to such a great icon who was instrumental in uniting this Association behind a common goal of excellence in whatever it chose to do. Mama Winnie was a special close friend of our President, Dr Jordaan, joining him in his house in Port Elizabeth awaiting the release of Isitwalandwe Govan Mbeki, who was the first of the great icons to be released from Robben Island on 5 November 1987.
Dr Jordaan and Mama Winnie then went on to serve in the first democratic Parliament, working to consolidate our liberation under Madiba’s Presidency.
Mama Winnie was very excited at the prospect of an annual Challenge played in her name and pushed to make the announcement last week. However, we could not do that as the trophy was just not ready.
It is for this, and many other reasons, that we ask all of our Members everywhere to observe a moment of silence in her honour until the official state funeral scheduled to be held on 14 April 2018.
We have agreed with the PSL that all PSL matches would observe this moment of silence until 14 April 2018 and we extended our tearfelt thanks to them for this gesture.
We thank you kindly and ask you to also engage your local media to express South African Football sadness and solidarity with Mama Winnie’s family.