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AFCON: South African Government Official Sparks Controversy with "Play Nice" Remark Amidst Rising Tensions

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FOREIGN NEWS: AFCON: South African Government Official Sparks Controversy with Play Nice Remark Amidst Rising Tensions [New Foreign News] » Naijacrawl
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Clayson Monyela, the Head of Public Diplomacy for the South African government, has ignited a social media storm with his recent Twitter statement.



The controversy surrounds the upcoming African Cup of Nations Semi-Final football match between the Bafana Bafana of South Africa and the Super Eagles of Nigeria, as historical tensions and xenophobic concerns loom large.

Amidst growing apprehension, the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa issued an advisory to Nigerians, urging caution in choosing match-viewing locations and discouraging provocative comments that could escalate conflicts. Additionally, Nigerians were cautioned against exuberant celebrations in the event of a Nigerian victory.


Expressing displeasure at the advisory, Monyela took to Twitter, stating, "This is a very unfortunate & regrettable statement issued by our Nigerian friends. It creates unnecessary alarm & tension. #BafanaBafana have played the Super Eagles many times & there's no history of soccer hooliganism associated with the outcome of such encounters. #SouthAfricans🇿🇦 pose no threat to Nigerians. We'll engage our Nigerian counterparts through diplomatic channels further on this. Totally unnecessary!" 


The situation escalated when a South African, using the username "Maradinho10," responded, criticizing Monyela's perceived tolerance. "Your level of tolerance is why all these African countries make SA their playing ground. This level of disrespect should have high consequences, not this jolly-jolly approach you are displaying here."


In a seemingly defiant reply, Monyela stated, "My job requires me to 'play nice,'" leaving many shocked and interpreting the remark as having a less-than-friendly undertone. This response fueled further reactions from the public, with some questioning the appropriateness of Monyela's role and others expressing concern about the potential consequences of such diplomatic interactions.


Nigerians, in particular, have seized upon Monyela's statement as justification for the advisory issued by their High Commission. Many view it as a veiled threat and are urging their compatriots in South Africa to exercise caution before, during, and after the highly anticipated football match. The incident highlights the delicate nature of diplomatic relations, especially in the midst of sporting events that evoke strong national sentiments.

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Piroll
 

Piroll is a creative writer, social-political commentator, socio-researcher, and sports analyst. He holds certificates in media management and data journalism from the Thomas Foundation Institute of Journalism. He works as a... Read More

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