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Etafia Honoured To Meet Madiba 19/11/04
Moroka Swallows goalkeeper Greg Etafia says that despite losing to Bafana Bafana, playing in front of Nelson Mandela has been one of the highlights of his career.

Bafana Bafana's 2-1 win over the Super Eagles may last for a long time in the memories of the South African soccer loving public - not only was it their first ever victory against Nigeria but it was the first time they had ever managed to score a goal against them.

But that match is not only a treasure for the winners only, even the losing goalkeeper Greg Etafia confessed that the encounter between the two nations will last for ever is his heart.

Most football critics will wonder why a losing player will cherish a match that his country had just lost. As South Africa national team's opponents were Nigeria, some will be forgiven for wondering where Etafia's heart is, is it with Nigeria or the country where he is plying his trade?

"It is not in very player's career that he gets to meet Nelson Mandela, let alone have him watch you play. God bless Mandela! We may have lost for the very first time to South Africa, but on Wednesday night, football and peace in Africa was the winner when ever the great man is involved," said the Nigeria keeper.

The Moroka Swallows shot-stopper Etafia said Bafana Bafana won on the day only because most of the Super Eagles failed to show up from their bases in Europe for the encounter.

"We were missing some of our regular players and South Africa had all their players and they took their chances in front of the goals and they were rewarded," said Etafia.

The Super Eagles number two keeper, who had a chance to claim his place in the starting line-up of his country after the first choice keeper failed to make it for the Mandela Challenge Cup, does not think letting two goals past him will have any effect on his international career for his soccer crazy country.

"We all love to win but Wednesday was not our day and people who watched the match know that we all gave our hearts in that game but I will always cherish that match. The great man himself, Mandela, was in attendance, how can I ever forget that? This encounter will have a special place in my heart.

"Even our captain, Jay Jay Okocha, who was injured, made the trip just to have a chance to meet Mandela. It was the Mandela Challenge Cup and like I said before, only a few players will every meet and play in front of Tata Africa himself," concluded Etafia.

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