SAFA Condemn Xenophobic Attacks And Plan Solidarity Matches

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

The South African Football Association (SAFA) has spoken out against recent xenophobic attacks in the country, condemning the actions, and they have announced their intention to organise friendly international matches against neighbouring countries affected by the violence to show solidarity and support for their fellow Africans.

The country has seen a number of xenophobic attacks grip Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng in recent days, with violence against African immigrants in South Africa prompting the government and police services to act quickly in an attempt to stop the actions that are causing deaths, injuries and damage to property, while also forcing those affected to leave their homes for special camps set up to assist them.

In response to these terrible actions, SAFA has addressed the issue and spoken out against the small group of South Africans who are instigating the violence, which SAFA president Dr Danny Jordaan terms as barbaric and regrettable.

“What is happening in certain parts of the country whereby fellow Africans are being subjected to all sorts of hate and abuse is quite unacceptable. This is not what the 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy was all about. When we hosted the 2010 showpiece, it was an African World Cup, to unite the continent, speak and relate as a united family,” Jordaan said to the media, according to AllAfrica.

“What is happening now in some parts of the country is quite the opposite. It is like undoing all the good work and legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. South Africa is part of this great continent and we should not alienate ourselves with these regrettable and barbaric actions,” he added.

“So instead of embracing our brothers from across the continent as part of us, we are making them feel unwelcome. This is unfortunate and unacceptable. It must stop. Everyone must say no to xenophobia, because it is some sort of apartheid in reverse. It has no place in modern society,” the SAFA president stated.

Friendly Matches Against Xenophobia

In an effort to put a stop to the violence and promote integration and friendship amongst the African countries, SAFA plans to organise two friendly international matches against affected southern African countries.

“We want to use the two high-profile international friendly matches as an instrument to unite this continent. What has been happening in the past few days have really left most people in a shock and dismayed,” said SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble, according to AfricanFootball.

He added, “We have decided to take this step as part of the fight against xenophobia. Madiba spoke of the power of sport in uniting people from different walks of life and we want to use the power of football to unite this continent and kick out this scourge within certain malcontents in our society.”

It is not clear which two teams will be selected for Bafana Bafana to play against, with SAFA set to announce the encounters once they are organised and agreed with the various opponents.

South Africans have been coming out in their numbers to denounce the scourge of xenophobia and march for peace and brotherhood amongst Africans, and sport is often used as a tool to bring people together, which is why SAFA’s plan to hold matches is something which may produce a positive impact.

“Most sporting personalities have had their say in denouncing these barbaric acts but we want to go a step further by playing friendly matches against neighbouring countries. We want to send out a message to those perpetrating these acts to sit back and realise what they are doing is wrong. We are one continent, one Africa, we are all Africans and we say no to xenophobia,” Mumble concluded.