CONCACAF mourns Mandela’s passing

Nelson Mandela impacted the world through avenues such as sports.

That fact is not lost on people in the Caribbean sporting fraternity, such as Caymanian Jeffrey Webb, the president of the Confederation of Central American and Caribbean Association Football and a FIFA vice president. Webb said the region’s top football body remains in mourning for Mandela.

“At CONCACAF, we are deeply moved by the passing of Nelson Mandela,” Webb said. “As a token of respect and admiration to the inspiration he has infused during my personal journey, I would like to pay tribute to Madiba’s legacy. A man whose existence has inspired such universal admiration on his life-long quest for undeniable heightened human values. The world should hope to see more heroes like him, able to touch countless hearts with his fervent passion for an altruistic cause, while spreading words of wisdom with selfless humility for the sole good of human kind.

“Let us never forget what a natural leader of such great stature looks like. With gratitude to his unequivocal legacy, we extend our condolences to Mr. Mandela’s family, friends and the world at large on this sad day. Our prayers are with you.”

Mandela passed away in South Africa last Thursday night at age 95. He was the country’s first black president and the ex-boxer, former lawyer and prisoner paved the way for racial reconciliation in South Africa during the apartheid era.

Mandela’s link to sports stretched beyond boxing. One of his most powerful moments came at the 1995 Rugby World Cup final in Johannesburg as his presence and congratulations for the victorious South African team united the country and bridged the racial divide. He also played a huge role in South Africa winning the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the first World Cup to ever be held in Africa.