The family of Nelson Mandela says he will make a brief appearance at the World Cup's opening ceremony in Johannesburg Friday.
Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, the family spokesman, had previously said his 91-year-old grandfather was too frail to attend the ceremony and opening match.
But he told reporters Tuesday that Mr. Mandela will likely greet fans and players for 10 to 15 minutes before heading home.
Any kind of appearance by Mr. Mandela would stir deep emotion in the crowd and most of South Africa.
Mr. Mandela is widely revered for his role in bringing down apartheid, South Africa's former system of white minority rule and discrimination against blacks.
After five years as the country's first post-apartheid president, Mr. Mandela worked to bring the World Cup to South Africa. This year's tournament marks the first time the Cup is playing played on the African continent.
The former president appeared in Johannesburg earlier this week, greeting players on South Africa's national team and wearing a yellow team jersey.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.