SOWETO – As relationships with African countries remain damaged, South African national team coach Molefi Ntseki has strongly condemned recent xenophobic attacks.
Ntseki has blasted the ongoing violence fuelled by xenophobia after it forced the cancellation of their friendly international match against Zambia this Saturday in Lusaka.
With the announcement to call off the clash against Chipolopolo made on Tuesday, the new coach has joined many South African leaders and football players in condemning the violence.
“It is very worrying. It is an unfortunate situation and we tend to forget that we are all Africans and we are all human beings and to take someone’s life is not acceptable,” Ntseki said as quoted by the official SAFA website.
“I think we must be united as Africans, let’s protect each other. Africans are loving people and we need to reciprocate that love.
“Taking someone’s life or having these xenophobic riots is not good for Africa; so, I am appealing to everyone that as Africans, let us be one, let us be united and let us have peace in Africa and when we have peace in Africa, we prosper as Africans.”
Although the 1996 African champions are set to face Madagascar on Saturday evening at Orlando Stadium, the former U17 coach has lamented their missed opportunity to face the Zambians.
The 50-year-old said that he was looking forward to playing Chipolopolo in his opening official match but accepted that circumstances would not allow that to happen.
“For us to play Zambia, it was an important match and we also wanted to strengthen relationships between the two countries not only on the football front but on every aspect of social life,” continued Ntseki.
“But with all what is happening, we are all disappointed because we really wanted to play against our brothers from Zambia and at the same time, prepare our teams for the upcoming AFCON qualifiers.
“This is a very unfortunate situation and I would like to tell Zambians that we love them, they are our brothers and sisters and something like this (xenophobic attacks) must never happen again,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, midfielder Bongani Zungu has called on the supporters to come out in numbers to support the team as he also called for unity as the fans will gain free entry into the venue.
“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,” he urged.