Cosafa slam xenophobia

20 Apr, 2015 - 00:04 0 Views
Cosafa slam xenophobia Suketu Patel believes

The Herald

BUILDING BRIDGES . . . Suketu Patel believes the COSAFA Cup could heal some of the wounds inflicted by xenophobic violence

BUILDING BRIDGES . . . Suketu Patel believes the COSAFA Cup could heal some of the wounds inflicted by xenophobic violence

Sports Reporter
COSAFA have become the latest body to add their voice to the growing chorus of condemnation over the outbreak of xenophobia in South Africa and have vowed to use the upcoming Senior Men’s Cup tournament as a means to heal the wounds of the region.

Parts of South Africa have seen attacks on foreign nationals as disgruntled local call for them to leave the country.

The North West province, which will host the COSAFA Cup 2015 from May 17-30, has not been affected and the South African government has made assurances that they are tackling the issue head-on.

COSAFA president Suketu Patel has led the condemnation of the attacks by the leadership of the organisation and offered support to the South African Football Association.

“COSAFA is a zone of multicultural backgrounds and we fully condemn the shameful xenophobia we are seeing in South Africa. However, we stand firmly behind SAFA at this time and are looking forward to the COSAFA Cup 2015 as an opportunity for all countries in the region to come together in peace,” Patel said.

Former Namibia Football Association president John Muinjo, who is now chairman of COSAFA’s Referees Committee and a senior member of the executive, is also hopeful the COSAFA Cup 2015 can build solidarity.

“In support of the decision taken by the South African government as well as SADC to condemn the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, I feel as COSAFA leaders we should also condemn the violence strongly,” Muinjo said.

“But football being a bridge-builder, we should in solidarity encourage SAFA and COSAFA to host the tournament in South Africa as planned and by doing so demonstrating that as Africans we are against those barbaric acts and that COSAFA is determined to assist normalising the situation.”

Muinjo believes any suggestions the tournament should be shelved would be counter-productive.

“By shelving the tournament we are not by any means going to solve the problem, but in fact running away from it.”

SAFA have already condemned the xenophobic attacks and called on the perpetrators to cease immediately.

“What is happening in certain parts of the country whereby fellow Africans are being subjected to all sorts of hate and abuse is quite unacceptable. This is not what the 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy was all about. When we hosted the 2010 show-piece, it was an African World Cup, to unite the continent, speak and relate as a united family,” said SAFA president Dr Danny Jordaan.

“We as SAFA are saying these barbaric actions must end; and end now. We fought against apartheid because it segregated society and xenophobia has the same apartheid tendencies.”

Buoyed by the COSFA stance ZIFA yesterday maintained that they had never contemplated boycotting the tourney where the Warriors will for the first time have to play in the preliminary group stage after tumbling down on the FIFA World rankings.

ZIFA said Zimbabwe would join 13 other countries at the regional tournament from May 17 to May 30 despite some calls to boycott the tournament following a wave of violence targeted at African immigrants in the country.

The association said they were in agreement with the COSAFA stance that the tournament provided the platform to fight the xenophobic violence currently rocking parts of South Africa.

The tournament will be hosted in the North West Province. The Warriors are set to start from the preliminary stage where they face Mauritius, Seychelles and Namibia in Group B. If they win the group, they meet old enemies Zambia in the quarter-finals.

Zambia beat Zimbabwe in Ndola in the 2013 COSAFA final.

“The association believes that playing at the tournament will be a regional victory against negative elements of society which can be defeated using football, the same way the continent went ahead to play the Africa Cup of Nations in an Ebola hit region.

“The Zimbabwe Football Association would like to inform the football fraternity and the nation at large that Zimbabwe will not boycott the 2015 COSAFA tournament to be hosted by South Africa.

“The association takes great exception to the nefarious xenophobic violence and we condemn these brutal acts with the contempt they de- serve.

“While we do not condone xenophobia, we believe that boycotting the tournament is not the appropriate measure to deal with these ghastly malpractices.

“We believe that two wrongs do not make a right and Zimbabwe is a respected member of COSAFA hence we will co-operate fully to ensure that our regional tournament succeeds,” Gwesela said.

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