Tensions Rise Before AFCON Semifinal: Nigeria Warns Fans, South Africa Denies Xenophobia Threat



A potential diplomatic flashpoint has emerged ahead of the highly anticipated Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) semifinal between Nigeria and South Africa on Wednesday.

The Nigerian High Commission in South Africa issued a warning urging Nigerian fans to moderate their celebrations if their team wins, citing concerns about possible xenophobic attacks from frustrated South African supporters.

However, this warning has sparked controversy, with South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) rejecting the notion of potential hostility.

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In a statement, Dirco emphasized that “there is no history of soccer hooliganism among South Africans” during matches against Nigeria and expressed confidence that “the sports-loving nation of South Africa poses no threat to Nigerian citizens.”

The High Commission’s advisory has been criticized by Dirco for “creating alarm and unnecessary tension” between the two nations’ citizens.

With passions high ahead of the crucial match, it remains to be seen how these pre-game tensions will play out and whether they will impact the atmosphere during the encounter. Both sides have emphasized their desire for a peaceful and competitive match, but concerns regarding fan behavior and potential security issues linger.

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