DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 22, during the International friendly match between South Africa and Malawi from Moses Mabhida Stadium on December 22, 2012 in Durban, South Africa Photo by Anesh Debiky / Gallo Images

Johannesburg - The government on Thursday urged South Africans to be nice to visitors during the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) soccer tournament.

“South Africans are urged to demonstrate hospitality towards visitors and show them the spirit of ubuntu through sports which is the melting pot that unites all Africans,” acting spokeswoman Phumla Williams said in a statement.

The government urged the nation to rally behind Bafana Bafana.

“We wish them well in their endeavour to win and keep the trophy in the country.”

There would be match-viewing centres with big screens in all nine provinces.

“South Africans are also urged to wear their favourite sports shirts on football Fridays from now until the end of the tournament in support of Bafana Bafana.”

South Africa play Cape Verde in the opening match on January 19 at the National Stadium (Johannesburg's FNB Stadium). - Sapa