December 6, 2013

'He laid down the path to live life with freedom'

ESPNcricinfo staff
South Africa's cricketers respond to the passing away of former president Nelson Mandela

"I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Mandela at The Wanderers when we were playing India in 1993 and what struck me most about that meeting, as the teams were lining up, was that he had time to speak to almost every single player. When it got to my turn he asked me what the Free State [which Donald played for] was like, and I was like, 'You're not supposed to know that.' It's actually quite scary as to how much he knew about each individual and team, but I think the biggest thing for me was the impact that Nelson Mandela had on sport in South Africa and how he brought people together."
Former South Africa quick Allan Donald

"I was fortunate enough to meet him on a few occasions and the thing that really struck me about him was the aura he had about him. He had something when he walked into the room, or when you walked into a room when he was in it, not a lot of people have that. I have no doubt he'll be looking down on South Africa and still taking care of the country in his own way. He has been an incredible force for the county's sport. I think us winning that 1995 rugby World Cup, he played a huge role in that. The role that he played in South African sport … I don't think people can quite grasp how big a role he really played in getting the players to play for the country."
South Africa allrounder Jacques Kallis

"It's a really sad day but we probably should be celebrating the man's life rather than his passing. True inspiration of a man in everything he did. I don't think words can describe what he did for our country, what he did for young kids today who don't even know who he really is to be honest. He has laid down the path for them to live a life with freedom. I was happy to meet him once or twice, and those moments will stay with me for the rest of my life."
South Africa pace spearhead Dale Steyn

"Just the way he has gone about his business, recuperating our country from what it was, was exceptional to see and exceptional to be a part of. I just think about the 1995 [rugby] World Cup, how we as a nation came together through sport, and he was the one who inspired us to come together and support the Springbok Rugby Team. Winning the World Cup and just seeing how the nation came together, it was just amazing."
South Africa batsman JP Duminy

"To us [the team] he represented so many of the qualities which we as players have looked to adopt in playing for South Africa. As the captain I was very privileged to spend some time with him and I vividly recall telephone calls I received from him wishing us luck before a big match or event. He always gave simple but wise advice and this had a big impact on me as leader of the team. His words will stay with me forever as they were not only relevant to cricket, but also to life."
South Africa Test captain Graeme Smith

"We often felt, especially in my early days in the Proteas, that Madiba showed a personal interest in the team and in us as individual players. This motivated us to be better. His memory will not only inspire us in our current series against India, but also to always stick together as a team representing a nation in the future. We will miss him."
South Africa ODI captain AB de Villiers

"He took over the country at an important stage of our country's development and did a magnificent job in uniting everybody. He's just a great icon and role-model for everybody, maybe every person in the world. He has united so many people through sport - the picture of him in the 1995 [rugby] World Cup, handing over the trophy to the winning captain, is etched in everyone's memory and will always have a very special place in every sportsperson's memory in South Africa. He has been a massive gift to South Africa."
South Africa coach Russell Domingo