I always believed that anywhere in Africa is home. I treat all my fellow African brothers and sisters good, despite coming from different countries. Is xenophobia better than racism? Well, they are both the same to me. In fact am gutted by both acts.
In case you are still wondering on where I am heading with this, then I will cut to the chase rather than riddles. I am talking about three incidents involving people stoning buses since November 2013 in Africa, not just any buses but a visiting team’s bus. Chances are that there were more incidents but this three came to my attention the most.
All three incidents have something similarities if you can look closer. They all come after a visiting team defeated a home side. In this case I am referring to national teams. The three incidents involves Zambia being stoned here in South Africa last year November, Nigeria got the same at Ethiopia mid October while South Africa had theirs in Swaziland mid last month.
Allow me to elaborate more about the different incidents. Zambia came to FNB stadium last year November to take on Bafana. Game ended 1-0 to Zambia. Usually home supporters indulge a defeat well. Keep in mind that it was before we hosted AFCON. Nevertheless, their bus was stoned by two young boys aged twelve and thirteen. According to BBC sport, Mweene needed head stitches while Katongo also got injured. Are we killing each other as Africans? What puts such hatred in two minors?
World Cup Qualifier is very intense and every nation wants to take part in the World Cup. Super Eagles of Nigeria were ill treated at Ethiopia on their play offs first leg in mid October. It all started when they were given a bus infested by cockroaches, then were taken to traffic jammed routes. However, on match day players were thrown with soft drink bottles by the Ethiopian fans.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria triumphed despite bad behaviour by their hosts. The most saddening part again is that their bus was also stoned after the match. Nosa got a palm injury due to a stone that force its way through in. Now that was according to a report I read on SuperSport.
Last month Bafana travelled to Swaziland for a friendly match. A friendly game ended up looking intrinsic. There were too many dangerous tackles in the match alone; one would probably thing it was an AFCON final. However, Bafana prevailed and paid the price after the game. Swaziland supporters stoned Bafana’s bus. No injuries were reported when I read the report. I was astonished when reading about it on Kick Off the following day.
Actually, a part of me still cannot believe that such incidents occurred. As a Manchester United supporter, the word ‘United’ means a lot to me. In this case, we are all Africans and we need to be UNITED. I care less of where you from or race or language you speak, but bottom line we are one.
Must we be afraid to send players to play away games? Are we in a war that some of us are not aware of? What do we gain in such ominous acts? A stone can kill a person.
Pirates also suffered from bad treatment when they visited TP Mazembe in their CAF Champions league clash, but that is a story for another day. Our attitudes must change, especially towards a visiting nation. Let us enjoy the beautiful game and be united as Africans again.
Africa is actually our home. Let go of fierce and restore peace.
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