Madagascar has joined Zambia in calling off a football match against South Africa in the wake of xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Last Wednesday, the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) pulled out of hosting South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in Lusaka Saturday, citing “prevailing security concerns.”
However, South African Football Association (SAFA) turned to Madagascar for a hastily arranged friendly in Orlando on the eastern edge of Johannesburg.
But the Bafana Bafana Twitter page said on Thursday the game would no longer take place.
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“SAFA regrets to inform the public that the match between Bafana Bafana and Madagascar scheduled for this coming Saturday (7 September) has been called off after the visitors (Madagascar) decided to withdraw from the encounter,” the statement read
Similarly, the Malagasy Federation of Football, in a statement, said it was honored to be considered to play South Africa but after consultation with various agencies in the country it was deemed wise to decline the invitation on security grounds.
Violence erupted in the South African capital Pretoria last week following the shooting of a local taxi driver, allegedly by a foreign drug dealer.
This incident proved to be the spark in an already volatile environment.
Anti-foreign sentiments from politicians and public officials have fostered ill feelings between South Africans and African migrants competing for meager opportunities in the most unequal country on the planet.