2 July 2010
South African President Jacob Zuma will swap his suit for soccer kit when he plays in the Special Olympics Unity Cup ahead of the World Cup quarter-final between Argentina and Germany in Cape Town on Saturday.
Zuma, as captain of his team, will lead an illustrious list of celebrities and football legends who will participate alongside 16 Special Olympics athletes at Green Point Stadium.
Zuma’s team will include former Bafana Bafana skipper Lucas Radebe, former NewCastle United great Alan Shearer, Clarence Seedorf of AC Milan, Chinese actress and Special Olympics Global Ambassador Zhang Ziyi, NBA legend and Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo, and former Mexican striker Enrique Borja.
Those who have tickets to the Argentina-Germany match will be able to catch the President and his team as they take to the pitch at 2pm.
Zuma says he is greatly honoured to have the opportunity to play in the squad.
“I am excited to participate in the first Unity Cup so that I can witness first-hand the skill of the Special Olympics athletes, share their joy and demonstrate the importance of inclusion to leaders from all over the world,” Zuma said in a statement this week.
“This World Cup tournament has been so exciting that I felt I cannot miss an opportunity to get onto the pitch myself!”
The Unity Cup aims to champion the power of football to bring about social change by supporting the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities.
The Presidency said Zuma’s participation would demonstrate that South Africa is “committed to ensuring that the freedom that was won in 1994 is enjoyed by all South Africans, including those with intellectual disabilities who even today, around the world, are denied access to education, sports, healthcare and employment.”