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19.07.2007 11:25

Eto'o shines in Mandela tribute


Despite not scoring, Eto'o put in a good performance in the match played this Wednesday in Cape Town to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 89th birthday.

The match was between an Africa XI, including Samuel Eto’o, and a World XI made up of veteran former players captained by Pele. The Brazilian legend did not actually play but opened the event with an emotive speech. The 35,000 thousand fans present in the Newland Stadium were able to enjoy watching some of the great names in recent footballing history such as Ruud Gullit, George Weah, Zubizarreta, Butragueño, Julen Guerrero and former South Africa captain Lucas Radebe.

A captain with character

The match ended in a 3-3 draw and though Eto’o, one of the few players to take part who has not retired from the game, didn’t manage to get on the score sheet, he had the honour of captaining the Africa XI. His team wore white shirts with the number 46664 – Mandela’s prison number on Robben Island.

Zubizarreta shuts the door

etoomandela4.jpgEto’o had promised Mandela a great match and, cheered on by the fans, he pulled out all the stops to get a goal. However, former Barça keeper Andoni Zubizarreta stopped everything he could throw at him. The first goal was scored by Ivan Zamorano in the 6th minute thanks to a great assist from Samuel Eto'o while Hossam Hassan got the second on the half hour mark. The others were scored by Gullit, Hassan again, Abedi Pele –again thanks to a fine pass from Eto'o- and Julen Guerrero.
Eto'o shines in Mandela tribute
Eto'o, emotional
Speaking after the match, an emotional Eto’o expressed his delight at having had the opportunity of meeting two of his heroes. Referring to Pele, he told reporters that he was excited at “having been on the same pitch as Pele”. As for Nelson Mandela, a man he admires deeply, meeting him was a “dream come true”.

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