The South African Football Association (SAFA) has finally released a statement on Thursday 5th September 2019 condemning the killing, looting and burning of businesses belonging to African Nationals in the ongoing Xenophobic attacks in South Africa, as the country suffers isolation from other African nations.
The statement will be the first time SAFA will be responding to the latest Xenophobic attacks in South Africa, and the condemnation from the association probably won’t have come if not for the isolation its male senior national team, Bafana Bafana has suffered since the crisis.
SAFA and the Bafana Bafana are clearly bearing the brunt of the Xenophobic attacks being carried out by their own country men on other African Nationals, after Zambia and Madagascar protested by pulling out from an International friendly match between the countries.
SAFA who had earlier called for a Press conference hours after Madagascar rejected their offer for a friendly match, confirmed that players have been dismissed from camp and to their various clubs, while the Association together with the Government confront the issue that has robbed them of an international friendly game.
The statement by SAFA reads:
“The South African Football Association (SAFA) has taken a decision to release the players who had been in camp whole week to go back to their clubs after the withdrawal of Madagascar team from the friendly match against Bafana Bafana which was scheduled for Orlando Stadium on Saturday, 7 September 2019.
The decision to release the players was taken after the meeting with the players and technical staff.
SAFA has consistently and strongly condemned the xenophobic attacks and the criminal looting of foreign and South African businesses and wanton attacks on foreign nationals and South African citizens.
We reiterate our call that these criminals must be arrested and dealt with harshly.
We have noticed that 289 arrests have already been made and we urge the authorities to accelerate further arrests and prosecutions.
It is also reported that 5 persons lost their lives in these attacks and we want to convey our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased.
We call on all footballers and sportspersons to join hands and unequivocally condemn any violation of the rights of fellow Africans in our country as well as xenophobic attacks.
South African football is proud of its record of hosting safe and incident-free international matches in our stadiums. We hosted numerous FIFA and CAF competitions including the AFCON and FIFA Confederations Cup, the FIFA World Cup as well as major club events.
South Africa’s record is second to none. On Tuesday, we hosted an Olympic qualifier between Banyana Banyana and Botswana at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg. This match, consistent with our history of hosting major football and other sporting events, was totally incident free.
It is to be noted that Banyana Banyana suffered their first defeat after being crowned COSAFA Champions a few weeks ago via a penalty shootout.
SAFA will continue to work with various organisations to condemn xenophobia in our country as well as to work for the integration of African nationals into the fabric of South African society”.