Departed icon of the country always wanted to know how the team was going.
Former South African cricket coach Mickey Arthur has revealed Nelson Mandela always had a vested interest in how the country’s cricket team was going.
The departed humanitarian icon loved all sports associated with his country, with the Proteas no different from the Springboks.
“He was always very interested in how Makhaya Ntini was going and whether he was behaving,” Arthur said in the wake of Mandela’s passing.
Arthur, who coached the national side from 2005 to 2010 was in charge when Ntini broken new ground by being the first black man to play for the national side in 100 Test matches.
“He loved his cricket and he always knew what was going on,” Arthur said.
“He had the whole team at his home after a series against New Zealand that we won and he entertained the team in his lounge. He was just fantastic.
“In meetings I had with him there was just such an aura about him, he was just such an inspiration. I remember myself and Graeme (Smith) having a little private chat with him before we went to the 2007 World Cup. He was just so phenomenal, so knowledgeable, and he just knew everything about the team.”
Arthur said the interest in the side and its players was genuine and the former Proteas coach said the former president went out of his way to get the latest news and information on the team, rather being being prompted by an assistant, such was his passion for the sport.
“He was outstanding like that,” Arthur remembers.
“It wasn’t as if he was being briefed, he had the knowledge.
“I think the three things that really stand out for me is his sense of forgiveness, the aura he had as a person and the respect he commanded, and then the resilience he showed.”
Mandela was honored around the world and sports venues were no different after his death at the age of 95, with a minutes silence and black arms bands common themes of respect.