South Africa waves the ‘Mandela Magic’ wand

As the World Cup opening game nears, Mexico is healthy and Bafana Bafana and their fans are amped. Adding to the excitement: South Africa’s former president plans a drop-in.

Reporting from Johannesburg — Forget South Africa’s talented midfielder Steven Pienaar, hulking defender Matthew Booth or strapping goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.

The man who may give Mexico the most trouble in Friday’s World Cup opener is a frail 91-year-old great-grandfather.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela is expected to make a brief appearance at Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium, where he will greet players and fans before South Africa and Mexico kick off the first World Cup to be played on African soil. And that could be bad news for Mexico because when Mandela is in the stadium, South Africans swear that strange things happen.


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