‘Enough is enough’: PSL coaches speak out against gender violence‚ xenophobia
Premier Soccer League (PSL) coaches Pitso Mosimane‚ Steve Komphela‚ Wedson Nyirenda and Cavin Johnson put up a united front on Friday to strongly denounce and condemn acts of violence that have erupted in the country.
They were joined by Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki‚ Zambian legend Kalusha Bwalya‚ Malawian legend Ernest Mtawali‚ University of Pretoria coach Zipho Dlangalala‚ SA Football Association (Safa) vice-president Ria Ledwaba and Gauteng MEC for Sports Mbali Hlophe.
The coaches and legends were speaking out against acts of xenophobic and gender-based violence that have gripped the country‚ calling the urgent press conference to the join growing calls for a return to normalcy.
“Our message is loud and clear‚ that stop xenophobia and gender-based violence in our country‚” said Lamontville Golden Arrows coach Komphela.
“We are requesting each one of us and at whatever level to play their part. As coaches we are playing our part and we are not here to upstage anybody or we are not here to represent the authorities.
“We are here as coaches‚ brothers and fathers who live in communities and we work with players from around the continent.”
Mosimane added that his club‚ Mamelodi Sundowns‚ have been travelling on the continent for the past seven years for their Caf Champions League assignments and they have never experienced any form of discrimination.
Sundowns were the 2016 African champions‚ and have competed at the top level in the continental tournament for half-a-decade.
“When we travel on the continent‚ we are safe. We only fight on the pitch and that is what football is about‚” Mosimane, the former African coach of year, said.
“Once we have moved outside of the stadium‚ there is no one following us or throwing stones at us – we are always safe. Otherwise we could have reported those incidents to the authorities.
“I am in Morocco all the time attending a Caf course and people there are welcoming. I walk on the streets freely and there has never been a situation where there was violence or I was discriminated against.”
Bwalya, a former African Footballer of the Year and Football Association of Zambia (Faz) president, said that enough is enough and all Africans in the country must stand together.
“The events of violence against women and xenophobia that we have seen over the past two weeks have to be stopped – enough is enough‚” the Zambia great said.
“We have to do something and that is why we are here to speak in solidarity as Africans. Some of us had the privilege of going out of the country in the early 80s to various parts of the world and we must use sport to unite us.
“Football has been able to bring people together and it has been used to deal with racial discrimination”
Nyirenda‚ coach of Baroka FC‚ and Johnson‚ boss of AmaZulu‚ also added their voice by saying that people’s lives must return to normal.
“If an African is not going to be accepted in Zambia or any other country on the continent we are not going anywhere. We are the same and we must bring this to a stop‚” Nyirenda said.
Johnson said: “We are sending a message that violence has no place in our country and we must continue to live together with foreigners peacefully.”