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AFCON: South Africa dismisses Nigeria High Commision’s advisory as “false alarm”

AFCON: South Africa dismisses Nigeria High Commision’s advisory as “false alarm”

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation in South Africa (DIRCO) has expressed dissatisfaction with the safety advisory released by the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria, labelling it a false alarm and describing it as “regrettable.”

The statement by the department released Tuesday, expressed concerns over altercations the advisory could provoke during the AFCON semi-finals between South Africa’s national team Bafana Bafana and the Super Eagles today.

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The statement read: “The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has learned about an unfortunate advisory issued by the High Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Pretoria.

“The advisory is regrettable, because it seems to create alarm and unnecessary tension between the citizens of South Africa and Nigerians living in or visiting South Africa.

“The South African national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, has played against their Nigerian counterparts, the Super Eagles, on many occasions, and there has been no history of soccer hooliganism among South Africans associated with the outcome of such encounters.

“We are confident that the sports-loving nation of South Africa poses no threat to Nigerian citizens, and we do not agree with the apprehension expressed by the High Commission.”

On Tuesday, the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria released an advisory to Nigerians to steer clear of provocate actions before, during and after the semi-finals against South Africa while drawing attention to potentially inflammatory online comments made by a section of South African citizens against Nigerians living in the host country.

“Most of the comments consist of veiled threats against “Nigerians cooking jollof rice” before the match, and “showing pepper to Nigerians if the Bafana Bafana lose to the Super Eagles”, among others,” the issue read.

In a personal statement on X, Clayson Monyela, head of public diplomacy in South Africa described the High Commission’s statement as “unnecessary,” stating that it has no historical backing.

“This is a very unfortunate & regrettable statement issued by our Nigerian friends. It creates unnecessary alarm & tension. Bafana Bafana have played the Super Eagles many times and there’s no history of soccer hooliganism associated with the outcome of such encounters. South Africans pose no threat to Nigerians…Totally unnecessary!”

Amid the debacle, DIRCO has embraced diplomatic routes to find a resolution.

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“As we have done in the past with similar alarming advisories, we call on the diplomatic representatives to approach DIRCO to address any concerns about diplomatic matters,” DIRCO’s statement read.

In alliance, Monyela stated, “We’ll engage our Nigerian counterparts through diplomatic channels further on this.”