Xenophobia has blighted Mzansi outlook again

JOHANNESBURG - South African football has become a global brand, thanks to a host of foreign talent that has graced the local league whether on the playing field or on the administration side.

Since the end of apartheid, players from across the continent and some from Europe, Asia and the Americas have flooded Mzansi leagues, making it one of the best across the globe.

And this has been aided by some of the best imported brains in football administration who have helped build the Mzansi football as a unique and exciting brand.

It is no wonder; the country has become one of the destinations of choice when it comes to hosting major sporting events as the 2010 Fifa World Cup will attest.

Yet events of the last few days in which certain sections of South Africa have gone amok attacking fellow Africans from other countries have left many baffled and the country’s international image in tatters.

It also left Safa President, Danny Jordaan who was the CEO of the 2010 World Cup red-faced.

“What is happening in certain parts of the country whereby fellow Africans are being subjected to all sorts of hate and abuse is 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,” said Jordaan this week lamenting events in KwaZulu Natal and some parts of the country.

“What is happening now in some parts of the country is quite the opposite.

“It is like undoing all the good work and legacy of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

“South Africa is part of this great continent and we should not alienate ourselves with our regrettable and ancient actions.”

The Safa president said after years of isolation, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) and neighbouring countries had played a critical role in South Africa being readmitted into the Fifa family.

“Caf and the entire continent were at the forefront of telling the world that apartheid had no place in the sport and that unless it was abolished, South Africa should remain isolated.

“If it was not for them, it could probably have taken years for this country to enjoy the fruits of the abolishment of apartheid.

“So instead of embracing our brothers from across the continent as one of us, we are making them feel unwelcome.

“This is unfortunate and unacceptable. It must stop. Everyone must say no to Xenophobia because it is some sort of apartheid in reverse. It has no place in modern society,” added Jordaan.

The internationally acclaimed administrator said Mzansi teams faced reprisals from the rest of the continent when they play away from home adding South Africans were very forgetful people.

“As a country, we should never forget where we come from. During the days of the struggle, who took us in and accommodated us?

“Why are we today turning against the very same people who were vital in the fight against apartheid?

“Our leaders fled to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Lesotho, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Angola, among other countries and were treated well.

“We are humans before we are South Africans, and that must be on the forefront of our existence.”

True to Jordaan statement South Africans and South African teams are not the most liked people on the continent and latest skirmishes will further isolate the country from the rest of Africa.

To make matters worse, Mzansi political leaders have failed to lead from the front. Their response has quite been muted leading the public to question their motive.

Is this the Rainbow Nation which used to pride itself in having people of all hues and walks of life living under one roof?

Is this the nation which produced great individuals like Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Oliver Tambo and the like?

Is this the country which talks highly about ubuntu/chivanhu?

Mzansi has dented its image and need to do a lot to restore it.

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