FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter has sent his congratulations to former South African president Nelson Mandela who celebrated his 93rd birthday Monday.
Following the success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, where the two forged a close relationship, the FIFA president took the opportunity to reminisce about last year’s triumphs in the rainbow nation and wish him well. He said:
“I send my very warmest congratulations today and would like to thank you with all my heart for your passion for life, your strength and the hope that you inspire.
“It is difficult to believe that 12 months have gone by since that joyous time. My dear and treasured friend, for me, you are present in every one of those moments.”
As well as sending birthday wishes to Johannesburg, Blatter also commended the love and commitment of Mandela.
“Thanks to you, your charisma and your love for people, we are continually reminded of what it means to battle persistently, to stand up for life and to look to the future with optimism.”
On what is also the second annual Nelson Mandela International Day, Blatter said of the man affectionately known as Madiba: “You should always be honoured on this day – just as you have enriched so many days.”