Written By : Leah De-Graft Takyi
In a twist of diplomatic drama, Nigeria and South Africa find themselves embroiled in a heated dispute ahead of their much-anticipated semi-final clash in the Africa Cup of Nations. The Nigerian High Commission in South Africa recently issued a cautionary advisory to Nigerian football fans, urging restraint in celebrations to avoid potential xenophobic attacks in case of a victory. However, South Africa vehemently denies any such threat, labeling the warning as a "false alarm."
The historic rivalry between the Super Eagles and Bafana Bafana has only added fuel to the fire, heightening tensions surrounding this crucial match. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) in South Africa released a statement rejecting the claim of potential violence, citing no history of soccer hooliganism against Nigeria. Dirco expressed confidence in the sportsmanship of the South African nation and deemed the advisory regrettable for creating unnecessary tension.
While South Africa awaits a response from Nigeria, the Nigerian diplomatic service maintains its stance, citing "veiled threats" online from South Africans as the basis for the advisory. It cautions Nigerians in South Africa to choose their locations wisely during the match, be mindful of their language, and refrain from loud or provocative celebrations should the Super Eagles triumph.
The semi-final showdown between Nigeria and South Africa is scheduled for a 17:00 GMT kick-off on Wednesday, February 7th, in the Ivorian city of Bouaké. As football enthusiasts eagerly anticipate this clash of titans, the diplomatic standoff adds an extra layer of intensity to what is already a highly charged encounter.
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