Presidents, royalty to attend World Cup final

JOHANNESBURG Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:59am IST

Spain's Fernando Torres stretches during a training session at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg July 10, 2010, a day before they play Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup final. REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo

Spain's Fernando Torres stretches during a training session at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg July 10, 2010, a day before they play Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup final.

Credit: Reuters/Marcelo Del Pozo

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Some 14 African presidents, a king, a queen, a prince and an emir are expected to attend Sunday's World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands, FIFA said on Saturday.

The guest list includes Queen Sofia of Spain and outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende to lead support for the two finalists.

A bigger question over the final will be whether Nelson Mandela will attend, after missing the June 11 opening ceremony because of the death of his 13-year-old great grand-daughter in a traffic accident the night before.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said he hoped former South African President Mandela, the much loved father of post-apartheid South Africa, would be able to attend.

Mandela, is in frail health at the age 91, and his office rarely gives details of his movements in advance. He is widely credited with helping South Africa win the World Cup bid in 2004.

The presence of Mandela, known affectionately by his clan name Madiba, would cap what is seen as a huge success by South Africa in hosting the continent's first World Cup.

Soccer's ruling body said the guest list included President John Atta Mills, of Ghana, the only one of six African countries in the finals to do well by equalling the continent's record of reaching the quarter-finals.

It said the list could change but also included President Robert Mugabe of neighbouring Zimbabwe, Monaco's Prince Albert, Qatari Emir (ruler) Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Nobel peace prize laureate Desmond Tutu and Spain's Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal.

King Mswati of Swaziland, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, is also due to attend.

South African police have warned of heavy security and road closures on the main highway going to the Soccer City stadium during the afternoon before the closing ceremony for the match that starts at 1830 GMT.

(Writing by Barry Moody; Editing by Jon Bramley)

(For more news on Reuters India, click in.reuters.com)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Urging Optimism

Urging Optimism

Be optimistic about Brazil, says Blatter.  Full Article 

Sturridge Hopeful

Sturridge Hopeful

Sturridge hopeful of returning against Chelsea.  Full Article 

Phelps Sceptical

Phelps Sceptical

'Grandfather' Phelps plays down Rio prospects.  Full Article 

On Trial

On Trial

Formula One boss Ecclestone goes on trial in Germany.  Full Article 

Premier League

Premier League

Preview - Liverpool seek to land knockout blow on Chelsea.  Full Article 

Time at United

Time at United

Sacked Moyes thanks Ferguson for Man Utd opportunity.  Full Article 

Praise For Real

Praise For Real

Ancelotti happy as Real thrive without much from Ronaldo, Bale.  Full Article 

Coach Sacked

Coach Sacked

Struggling Nuremberg sack coach Verbeek.  Full Article 

Ferrer Out

Ferrer Out

Ferrer suffers early defeat in Barcelona.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage