21 Apr 2015 13:00pm
WINDHOEK, 21 APR (NAMPA) Former Namibia Football Association (NFA) president John Muinjo, is hopeful the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Cup 2015 will build solidarity.
The annual football tournament will this year be hosted in South Africas North West province from 17 to 30 May.
Various parts of South Africa have seen attacks on foreign nationals as disgruntled locals call for them to leave the country.
The attacks started in Durban three weeks ago, after Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini last month reportedly said foreigners should leave the country. He has since claimed he was misinterpreted.
The North West province has not been affected by the xenophobic violence outbreak and the South African government has made assurances that they are tackling the issue head-on.
In a statement availed to Nampa on Sunday by Cosafa, the former NFA president who is now the chairperson of Cosafa Referees Committee and a senior member of the executive was quoted as saying Cosafa is against the barbaric acts and they will use the tournament to help normalise the situation in South Africa.
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 South African Football Association (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 in normalising the situation, he echoed.
He added that any suggestions of the tournament being shelved would be counterproductive.
By shelving the tournament we are not by any means going to solve the problem, but in fact running away from it, stated Muinjo.
In the same statement Cosafa condemned the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, and vowed to use the upcoming tournament as a means to heal the wounds of the region.
Cosafa president Suketu Patel led the condemnation of the attacks and has offered to support SAFA.
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, said Patel.
SAFA president Danny Jordaan was also quoted in the statement condemning 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 showpiece, it was an African World Cup, to unite the continent, speak and relate as a united family.
'We as SAFA are saying these barbaric actions must end now. We fought against apartheid because it segregated society and xenophobia has the same apartheid tendencies, said Jordaan.