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Southampton (A) Sat 20 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Applause For Mandela

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

A period of applause is to be held for Nelson Mandela ahead of Everton's game against Arsenal on Sunday.

The former South African leader passed away on Thursday at the age of 95.

Supporters will be asked to pay their respects in the build-up to the match at Emirates Stadium, which kicks off at 4pm.

Blues midfielder and former South Africa captain Steven Pienaar has referenced Mandela as a personal inspiration throughout his career and took to Twitter on Thursday night to express his shock and sadness at the icon's death.

Referring to Mandela by his clan name, Madiba, the 31-year-old wrote: "God Bless the MADIBA family," before later adding: "Still can't believe it MADIBA is gone."

Everton manager Roberto Martinez also paid tribute on Friday morning, describing Mandela as 'an inspiration' who had made a lasting impact 'not only on South Africa, but on humanity'.

He said: "Rightly, there's a lot of talk about what Nelson Mandela achieved as a politician and as a human being.  But I think once you travel to South Africa you realise the magnitude of what he did.

"You can't help but feel an incredible inspiration from the man, just what he did, the way he used sport to [tackle] political issues that were impossible to solve.

"I think he's a leader we have all been inspired by and gained inspiration from and obviously there is a sadness at his passing. But it will be more, in my eyes, a celebration of what he brought, not just to South Africa but to humanity.

"He was as impressive a human being as I have ever seen."

Speaking about Sunday's applause, a Club spokesman said: “The strength, courage and integrity of Nelson Mandela has been an inspiration to millions during the course of his extraordinary life.

“At this weekend's game at Arsenal please join in a minute’s applause to celebrate his life, his many achievements and the positive legacy he has left, which has reached far beyond South Africa and will last for generations to come.”

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