04.03.2024, 06:19

Diplomatic Tensions Rise Between Nigeria and South Africa Over Afcon Safety Advisory

Diplomatic Tensions Rise Between Nigeria and South Africa Over Afcon Safety Advisory

A diplomatic dispute has emerged between Nigeria and South Africa following a caution issued by the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa to Nigerian football supporters. This advisory, released before the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final clash between the two countries, counselled Nigerian fans against engaging in exuberant celebrations to avoid inciting xenophobic reactions from South African spectators. South Africa, however, criticized the warning, labelling it as a source of "false alarm" and unnecessary strain between the nations.

South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) contested the advisory, emphasizing the absence of soccer-related violence in past encounters with Nigeria and expressing confidence in the peaceful nature of South African fans. Dirco's statement highlighted its disagreement with the concerns raised by the Nigerian High Commission, suggesting that the warning might unnecessarily heighten tensions between South Africans and Nigerians within South Africa.

This incident underscores the ongoing rivalry between the football teams of Nigeria and South Africa, as well as the broader context of xenophobic violence in South Africa. Despite South Africa's assurance of safety at the match, the Nigerian advisory pointed to "veiled threats" against its citizens on social media, advising caution in public celebrations and vigilance during the game.

The match is set to take place in Bouaké, Ivory Coast, adding another chapter to the rich football history between Nigeria and South Africa. The safety warning controversy reflects the complex interplay of sports, diplomacy, and social issues in Africa.


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