Africa

Nelson Mandela 'will attend World Cup opening'

Nelson Mandela holding the World Cup trophy
Image caption Mr Mandela reportedly requested tickets for the World Cup

Former South African President Nelson Mandela will attend the opening ceremony of the World Cup, the country's sports minister has said.

Makhenkesi Stofile said the anti-apartheid icon had requested tickets for the opening and closing events.

But Nelson Mandela's family has denied he will attend the tournament which starts next week.

Mr Mandela, who will be 92 next month, campaigned for the World Cup to come to South Africa.

His charity, the Mandela Foundation, has not confirmed his attendance, citing security reasons.

"Mandela has demanded to attend the World Cup," Mr Stofile said.

But Mr Mandela's grandson Mandla Mandela has said his grandfather is too old and frail to attend the World Cup, the AFP news agency reports.

"It would be really a challenge to take him [Nelson Mandela] out in a cold winter day to go and watch a game of football," he said.

Some 350,000 people are expected to visit South Africa for the World Cup, which is being held in Africa for the first time.

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