JOHANNESBURG – Bongani Zungu has called on South Africans to come out in their numbers at Orlando Stadium on Saturday to support Bafana Bafana who plan to use their international friendly against Madagascar to heal a divided country.
Bafana were supposed to be flying out to Lusaka today to take on Zambia on Saturday, but those plans have been shelved due to the xenophobic attacks that have shutdown Johannesburg and Pretoria that has seen mobs loot and burn stores belonging to foreign nationals and South Africans.
The South African Football Association (Safa) was forced to scramble for another opponent on short notice. They eventually got Madagascar, which could be a blessing in disguise should Mauritius beat Sao Tome and Principe in their qualifying match to be in Bafana’s group in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers. Ghana and Sudan complete that group.
“I hope that people can come and watch, and maybe we can use the game to try and bring the nation together by playing good football and also spreading the message of trying to find peace in our country,” Zungu said after Bafana’s training match against Moroka Swallows at Dobsonville Stadium yesterday.
The East Rand, where Zungu hails from, has been heavily hit by these violent outbursts.
“I heard some stories,” the lad from Duduza said. “It’s worrying. Every day, I have to call my family, ask them what’s up and if they are OK. It’s stressful. I hope that things can be better.”
There are reports that Zambians are retaliating by attacking South African stores in their country. The mood in Zambia was tense with Zambians in South Africa allegedly behind the call for the cancellation of the friendly.