Flames legend Ernest ‘Wire’ Mtawali has said football is one of the best tools to fight xenophobia in South Africa.
The former Malawi national team midfielder and coach said this during a special event organised to fight acts of xenophobia last Thursday in Soweto, Johannesburg which was spiced up by a football match between legends and celebrities.
“I would like to thank those who came up with this initiative.
“Football, is the best tool to fight xenophobia, racism and abuse against women and children,” said Mtawali, who became the first foreigner to win the South African Footballer of the Year Award in 1985 while starring for Bloemfontein Celtic.
“Let’s get rid of xenophobia. Mzansi, we are one, Africa is one. We do not need xenophobia,” he added in an interview with Super Sport Television after the event.
And in an interview on Monday, Mtawali, who also had stints with other top South African clubs such as MamelodiSundowns, Orlando Pirates and Super Sport United, said it is encouraging that the campaign to fight acts of xenophobia is gaining momentum.
“It is good to see the efforts being made by the South African government through the Department of International Affairs, diplomats and other stakeholders to fight xenophobia and violence against women and children,” he said.
Some of the legends, involved in the campaign, are Zambian Kalusha Bwalya, the only southern African to have won the African Footballer of the Year Award, former BafanaBafana captain Lucas Radebe and his compatriots Edward ‘Magents’ Motale, Jerry Skhosana, Doctor Khumalo, Steven Piennar, Siphiwe Tshabalala and Brian Baloyi, Nigerian William Okpara, Zimbabwean Benjani Mwaruwari.
The xenophobic attacks that rocked the Rainbow Nation left at least 12 people killed while thousands, including Malawians, were displaced.