JOHANNESBURG - 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 (pictured) 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
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.
Football'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
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.
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