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Mandela: SA's greatest son laid to rest (slideshow)
The world watched as Nelson Mandela was finally laid to rest in his hometown of Qunu following a dignified and moving funeral ceremony on Sunday.
Soccer's ruling body, Fifa, is preparing to send out a powerful message against racism this week through a string of events to mark the 89th birthday of South Africa's anti-apartheid icon and former president Nelson Mandela.
A star-studded line-up of football greats, including Brazilian legend Pele; three-time African player of the year Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon; and former European player of the year Ruud Gullit will tog out for a match in Cape Town on Mandela's birthday on Wednesday.
Hours before the match, Fifa will hold a ceremony on Robben Island off Cape Town, where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison, to highlight the role of football in tackling racism.
During the apartheid era, political prisoners on the island formed their own football association, entitled Makana FA, which adhered to Fifa rules.
Twenty former prisoners will join the visiting football stars and Fifa officials on the island to witness Makana FA being made an honorary member of Fifa.
"Nelson Mandela was once a pariah unjustly imprisoned by a racist regime, but he is now the world's most powerful symbol of non-racialism," Fifa president Joseph Blatter said explaining the initiative earlier his month.
"They [Makana FA] are a strong symbol of Fifa's fight to eradicate racism and all forms of discrimination from football and sport," said Blatter.
Fifa introduced a "Say No to Racism" campaign as well as new anti-racism regulations last year to combat the growing problem of players enduring racist taunts from fans.
Later on Wednesday evening, an Africa XI will run out against a Rest of the World XI at a match in Cape Town to honour Mandela.
About 25Â 000 tickets for the game in Newlands Stadium had been sold by Monday lunchtime, according to Fifa 2010 local organising committee spokesperson Dennis Mumble. The stadium has a capacity of 38Â 000.
Neither Blatter nor the elderly statesman himself will be at Newlands Stadium to hear tens of thousands of people sing Happy Birthday at an opening ceremony.
Instead, Madiba -- as he is usually referred to by his clan name in South Africa -- will remain in Johannesburg where he is scheduled to announce the formation of a club of former world leaders to tackle key global issues.
He will be flanked during his announcement by popular South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former US presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, who are expected to be among the members of the new club.
The proceeds of the Mandela match will go towards social programmes, including Mandela's 46664 Aids-awareness campaign named after his prisoner number.
Other big names set to take to the pitch include Liberian legend George Weah and South African defenders Mark Fish and Lucas Radebe. -- Sapa-dpa