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South African star dedicates Palace win over Cardiff to Mandela
ON a weekend when grounds up and down the country mourned the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela, Saturday’s minute of applause at Selhurst Park had extra meaning for Kagisho Dikgacoi.
Palace’s South African midfielder, a member of the African National Congress which swept to power in 1994 with Mandela as its leader and ambassador for the ANC’s centenary in 2012, dedicated his side’s crucial 2-0 win over Cardiff City to the man who he believes he owes everything.
“If it was not for Nelson Mandela I do not think I would be here and I had a chat with the lads before the game,” said Dikgacoi, fighting back his emotions.
“Cameron Jerome and Marouane Chamakh both said they would dedicate a goal to him.
“He made everyone united through sport.
“I was lucky enough to meet him three times as part of the national team and it was always exciting.
“He was a powerful man, everyone loved him and I am honoured I was able to meet him before he passed away.”
Saturday’s victory over Cardiff made it three wins in four games for Palace, all against main relegation rivals.
The Eagles are now level on points with Fulham and West Ham, and within striking distance of the teams above them for the first time this season.
And Dikgacoi is now looking forward to the rest of the campaign with renewed vigour as Palace look to achieve something which has never been done before - survive a season in the Premier League.
He said: “I think we did extremely well today.
“I was hoping to get a goal at least today for Nelson Mandela but it was a fantastic performance and I’m really excited about the rest of the season.”
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