Freedom of London for Mokoena

26 October 2010

Aaron Mokoena’s services to football and charity will be recognised when the Bafana Bafana and Portsmouth captain receives the Freedom of the City of London on 10 November.

Mokoena was nominated for the honour by Alderman Andrew Parmley, who met the South Africa skipper during President Jacob Zuma’s state visit to the UK earlier this year.

“I was impressed by what Aaron has achieved in his football career as captain of South Africa and Portsmouth FC and by his determination to ensure young people in South Africa have access to sport and education opportunities through his charitable foundation, which he established in 2009,” Parmley said in a statement.

‘I am honoured’

Mokoena said he was honoured by the award. “London is such a fantastic city, and to be presented this award as a South African playing football in the UK is a very proud moment for my country, my family and myself.”

Portsmouth Football Club’s CEO David Lampitt described Mokoena as “a great role model for young people and all Portsmouth fans.

“The club has been fully supportive of the work Aaron is undertaking in South Africa through his foundation,” Lampitt added. “The club congratulates him on this wonderful accolade.”

Kaizer Motaung

Kaizer Chiefs’ owner Kaizer Motaung told The Sowetan: “I believe it is a good thing to follow the successes of the likes of Doctor Steve ‘Kalamazoo’ Mokone, a legend that represented the apartheid-oppressed talent of South African football abroad,” Motaung said.

“We must also not forget the towering Lucas Radebe, who carved a name for himself in the City of Leeds when he played there. There have been a lot of South African exports to other countries, and one can only marvel at how they set up new arrivals to fly our country’s flag.

“Aaron Mokoena’s achievement has therefore crowned a successful career in the tough English football fraternity, and is worthy of receiving our fullest respect,” Motaung said.

“I just hope other youngsters will emulate such heroic feats that demonstrate the quality of our exports that have raised the standard of our football abroad.”

History of the award

The Freedom of the City of London is believed to have begun in 1237 and enabled recipients to carry out their trade. Today, people are nominated for the Freedom because it offers them a link to the historic City of London and one of its ancient traditions.

The Freedom is also offered to individuals by the City of London Corporation to help celebrate significant achievements.

Career

Mokoena became the the first South African to play in 100 internationals when he ran out against Guatemala in May this year.

He captained South Africa on home soil in the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the first World Cup to be held in Africa.

During his club career, he has played for Ajax Amsterdam, Germinal Beeerschot, Racing Genk, Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth.

SAinfo reporter

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