Thursday Sep 05, 2019. 22:00
The proposed international friendly between South Africa and Madagascar scheduled for Johannesburg on Saturday has been called off after the islanders decided not to send a team to fulfil the fixture.
The Malagasy Football Federation said in a statement on Thursday that they had a change of heart after security concerns over the safety of their delegation following xenophobic violence in South Africa this week.
“Honoured by this consideration, and finding it an interesting opportunity to prepare the Malagasy national team for the different competitions that await them, the FMF initially gave its agreement in principle for the organisation of the meeting,” a statement from the Malagasy Football Federation said.
“However, after having agreed with Malagasy national institutions, in particular regarding the security of the delegation of Madagascar and Malagasy nationals in South Africa, it was found necessary and judicious to decline the invitation.”
Madagascar’s decision to pull out is deeply embarrassing for the South African Football Association after their original fixture for this weekend in Zambia was also called off by their hosts in protest at the violence aimed at foreign nationals in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
“The reality is both the Zambia and Madagascar games were called off against South Africa as a result of the violence,” SAFA president Danny Jordaan said.
“As a football association, country and people, we need to confront this. What we can never do is extract ourselves from the African continent. Our destiny and our future are bound to the continent.
“The coach [Molefi Ntseki] will have to deal with the fact that the players flew in from local and overseas-based clubs, they have been training and there must be a sense of disappointment that we could not see this team under the new coach.”