Mandela closing diary for World Cup

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MandelaNelson Mandela won’t be receiving visitors during the World Cup.

In a statement Thursday, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said it had been “inundated with requests for meetings, and it will be impossible for Mr. Mandela to accede to even a small fraction of these.”

“Mr. Mandela’s diary will remain closed for the duration of the World Cup,” the foundation said, while adding the former president “remains in good health.”

Mandela, who turns 92 on July 18, has largely retired from public life. There has been speculation he would make an appearance at the World Cup opening ceremony Friday, when South Africa plays Mexico. He was not included in a list of dignitaries and important figures who confirmed their attendance, though his former wife Winnie Mandela was included.

“He wants to attend and it will depend on his feeling on that day,” Rich Mkhondo of the local organizing committee said Thursday. “There is an open invitation for him and he will decide tomorrow morning if he attends or not.

“If he doesn’t, we understand, and if he does we will be excited.”

Source: The Associated Press.