DURBAN – The South African Football Association (Safa) will suffer because of the xenophobic violence that has swept the country in the last week.
It is an open secret that Safa are not in a financial stable condition. Playing against African opposition is probably a more cost-effective option for them than inviting or touring some of the top European nations. But the national football federation will be now forced to dig deep into their pockets in search of quality oppositions from abroad.
Right now there is bad blood between South Africa and our African counterparts politically due to what is perceived as hatred attacks on foreign African nationals in the country. Zambia and Madagascar were the first countries that responded to the crisis by cancelling their clash with Bafana, forcing Safa to release the players back to their clubs.
This means that Safa had spent money on flying players from around the world to play this friendly that was called off in the eleventh hour after the two countries withdrew citing safety concerns. Bafana were scheduled to play in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, and when they cancelled Madagascar were hastily organised as replacement but they also had a change of mind two days before the game.
They spent money on accommodation, transport and flights. Safa will be forced to find South American or Asian opposition in the next Fifa week. European opposition are busy with the qualifiers for the Euro 2020 and therefore not available. Even if they are available, they come at a far bigger cost. Getting a South American or an Asian opposition won’t come cheap either.
Bafana Bafana team departs from team hotel on Friday, 6 September pic.twitter.com/F9I3e4wfbc— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) September 6, 2019
It is shameful that in 2019 we are fighting this disease called xenophobia. I feel for the new Bafana coach, Molefi Ntseki, who may have to go into a competitive game with inadequate preparation. What happened last week is a huge setback for Ntseki. Playing Madagascar or Zambia would have given him an idea of where he needs to refine going in to the next Fifa week in October. The new coach has an important Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier in November against Ghana - a quality opposition.
That is going to be a massive test for Bafana. It is imperative that they get quality opposition ahead of that clash that promises to be a mouthwatering showdown.
We cannot hide the fact that the effects of xenophobia are disastrous.