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AFCON: Tension High Between Nigeria and South Africa Ahead of AFCON Semifinal

AFCON: Tension High Between Nigeria and South Africa Ahead of AFCON Semifinal

Ahead of the highly anticipated semifinal match between Nigeria and South Africa in the Africa Cup of Nations, a diplomatic dispute has emerged between the two countries.

The Nigerian High Commission in South Africa issued a cautionary statement advising Nigerian football fans to avoid excessive celebrations should their team emerge victorious. This advisory aimed to prevent any potential escalation of tensions and xenophobic attacks from South African supporters.

However, South Africa has dismissed these warnings, labeling them as unfounded. According to South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco), there is no historical precedent of soccer-related violence involving South African fans during matches against Nigeria.

“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,” Dirco added.

“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.”

Nigeria has yet to respond to the statement from South African officials.

In recent years, South Africa has seen a wave of xenophobic attacks against Africans who have moved there from elsewhere in the continent, often for better economic opportunities.

In its statement earlier on Tuesday, Nigeria’s diplomatic service said it was issuing the warning because it had seen evidence of “veiled threats” by South Africans online.

It advised Nigerians living in South Africa to “be watchful of their utterances, be mindful of where they choose to watch the match especially in public places, and refrain from engaging in loud, riotous or provocative celebrations should the Super Eagles win”.

Kick-off is at 17:00 GMT on Wednesday in the Ivorian city of Bouaké.

The other semi-final is between the hosts Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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