SA guarantees Young Warriors safety as xenophobia attacks escalate

Devine Mhindirira of Zimbabwe evades challenge from Alford Velaphi of Botswana during the 2018 COSAFA U20 Championship football match between Zimbabwe and Botswana at Nkana Stadium in Kitwe on 3 December 2018 ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

SOUTH African Football Association (Safa) have promised fool-proof security as the Zimbabwe Under-23 football team land in the country on Wednesday amid a wave of xenophobic violence in South Africa.

Zimbabwe plays South Africa over two legs, the first taking place on September 6 at Orlando Stadium while the return leg is set for Barbourfields Stadium on September 10. 

It is unclear whether Zimbabwean spectators will turn up as some of their countrymen are being put in harm’s way amid visceral anger – directed at anyone identified as an immigrant.

At least five people have been killed in riots across Gauteng. 

“SAFA (South African Football Association) officials have guaranteed the safety and security of our U23 delegation headed for SA later today,” Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said without elaborating on the intricate details. 

Safa’s incident-free promise comes as Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has called off an international friendly between that country’s national team and Bafana Bafana due to ongoing violence and targeting of their people. 

Nigerian singer, Tiwa Savage, on Wednesday, said she would no longer be performing at a festival scheduled to hold in Johannesburg, South Africa, later this month.

The African country on the Gulf of Guinea, has  also recalled its Ambassador to South Africa, Ambassador Kabiru Bala and pulled out of the World Economic Summit.

Images broadcast on South Africa’s public broadcaster showed people breaking into stores and carrying away foodstuffs, alcohol and clothing.

Foreign nationals have had their stores raided and also found themselves on the receiving end of physical abuse over the last couple of weeks.

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