Safa condemns xenophobic attacks
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Johannesburg - The South African Football Association (Safa) has condemned in the strongest terms the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals being perpetrated by what it called criminal elements.
“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,” said Safa President, Dr Danny Jordaan who was the CEO of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
“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.”
The Safa President said after years of isolation, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) had played a critical role in South Africa being readmitted into the Fifa family.
“CAF and the entire continent were at the forefront of telling the world that apartheid had no place in the sport and that unless it was abolished, South Africa should remain isolated. If it was not for them, it could probably have taken many more years for this country to enjoy the fruits of the abolition of apartheid.
“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 (where fellow Africans are being attacked) because it is some sort of apartheid in reverse. It has no place in modern society,” added the Safa President.
South African national teams and clubs participate in various competitions on the continent and the Safa President warned those who promote xenophobia that they risk putting our teams in a very risky position when they play away from home.
“It is like saying to Africa it is us versus you. Such actions only help to isolate us from the rest of the continent. It goes against the spirit of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
“We as Safa are saying these barbaric actions must end; and end now. We fought against apartheid because it segregated society and xenophobia has the same apartheid tendencies.”
Dr Jordaan concluded by saying that during the fight against apartheid, most of our freedom fighters sought refuge across the continent and around the world.
“As a country, we should never forget where we come from. During the days of the struggle, who took us in and accommodated us? Why are we today turning against the very same people who were vital in the fight against apartheid? Our leaders fled to Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Angola, among other countries and were treated well. We are humans before we are South Africans, and that must be in the forefront of our existence,” concluded Dr Jordaan.