Below is a the full text of CAF Hall of Fame member and CAF President Issa Hayatou’s tribute to Nelson Mandela, who passed away yesterday in South Africa.

“It is with deep emotion and intense sadness that we learned, on the night of December 5 2013, the death of Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and hero of the fight against Apartheid.

Africa and the World, has lost an icon, a monument, a guide and a benchmark. But his struggle, works and deeds will remain forever a compass for the past, current and future generations.

One of his last public appearances was on July 11, 2010. Despite his condition, Mandela made an appearance at the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on South Africa, the first time held in Africa. The realization of a dream, for which he spared no effort, his involvement with us was undoubtedly decisive.

This is an opportunity for us to acknowledge the role he played in the development of African youth and development of football in Africa in the early 90s, investing enormously for South Africa, a founding member of the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF), finds its place in the family of world football.

Mandela wore a jersey of “Bafana Bafana” and pushing them to their first continental crown during the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996 in South Africa, this picture will remain one of the highlights of the history of African football.

In this painful time when the whole world mourns a hero, an exceptional man, I wish on behalf of the Executive Committee of CAF, the great African football family and my own behalf, sincere condolences to family of Nelson Mandela, South Africa, Africa and also the millions of people who have been affected by his noble values and beliefs for the good of humanity.

Despite his demise, CAF will continue to celebrate this global icon. Let us celebrate Mandela, let us celebrate Africa”.

Issa Hayatou
CAF President