The Football Association of Zambian (FAZ) have called off the international friendly between their national team and Bafana Bafana in Lusaka on Saturday in response the current wave of xenophobic attacks and violence in South Africa.
This is an unprecedented move from a Southern African country‚ fellow Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) member‚ taking a stand against attacks on foreign immigrants‚ including some against Zambians.
South African Football Association (Safa) communications director Dominic Chimhavi confirmed FAZ have communicated they have called the game off.
“The game is off. We have just received correspondence from FAZ to that say they cannot undertake this match with the ongoing violence in South Africa‚ and including targeting their own people‚” Chimhavi said.
He said Safa have made headway finding replacement opponents‚ but cannot announce anything yet.
The match‚ scheduled to have been played at the 60‚000-seater National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka‚ was to have been the first fixture of new Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki‚ whose appointment was only officially made this past Saturday.
Bafana‚ including most of their overseas-based contingent‚ had assembled and started training for the match on Monday.