*Nelson Mandela plans to skip the opening ceremony of the football World Cup finals in South Africa in June and will watch the tournament from home, his grandson told AFP on Wednesday.
FIFA organizers had hoped he would make a rare public appearance to grace the first world soccer finals on African soil, which begin on June 11.
Asked if the increasingly frail 91-year-old would be present, Chief Mandla Mandela replied: “Certainly not. My grandfather at this age is very elderly and we are not trying to intensify his program.”
“He’s said he would prefer to be at home in the rural countryside to spend time at the farm,” Mandela, who is a member of parliament, told AFP. “What we understand is that during the World Cup he will be given the opportunity to rest in the countryside.”
A final decision will be made by the family and the Nelson Mandela Foundation closer to the start date, he added, stressing that there were no immediate health worries.
Mandela’s last public appearance was on February 11 when he visited the South African parliament to mark the 20th anniversary of his release from prison.