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Bafana players released back to their clubs

The South African Football Association (SAFA) have confirmed that all players in the national team camp have been released back to their clubs after the friendly against Madagascar was called off.

It is the second match that has been forced to be cancelled after Zambia pulled out of the initial friendly due to the xenophobic attacks which have plagued South Africa recently.

Madagascar then replaced Zambia, with the match scheduled for the Orlando stadium on Saturday but that has also now been cancelled.

SAFA said in a statement all their players will now return to their clubs.

The statement read: "The South African Football Association (SAFA) has taken a decision to release the players who had been in camp whole week to go back to their clubs after the withdrawal of Madagascar team from the friendly match against Bafana Bafana which was scheduled for Orlando Stadium on Saturday, 7 September 2019.

"The decision to release the players was taken after the meeting with the players and technical staff.

"SAFA has consistently and strongly condemned the xenophobic attacks and the criminal looting of foreign and South African businesses and wanton attacks on foreign nationals and South African citizens.

"We reiterate our call that these criminals must be arrested and dealt with harshly.

"We have noticed that 289 arrests have already been made and we urge the authorities to accelerate further arrests and prosecutions.

"It is also reported that 5 persons lost their lives in these attacks and we want to convey our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased.

"We call on all footballers and sportspersons to join hands and unequivocally condemn any violation of the rights of fellow Africans in our country as well as xenophobic attacks.

"South African football is proud of its record of hosting safe and incident-free international matches in our stadiums. We hosted numerous FIFA and CAF competitions including the AFCON and FIFA Confederations Cup, the FIFA World Cup as well as major club events.

"South Africa’s record is second to none. On Tuesday, we hosted an Olympic qualifier between Banyana Banyana and Botswana at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg. This match, consistent with our history of hosting major football and other sporting events, was totally incident free.

"It is to be noted that Banyana Banyana suffered their first defeat after being crowned COSAFA Champions a few weeks ago via a penalty shootout.

"SAFA will continue to work with various organisations to condemn xenophobia in our country as well as to work for the integration of African nationals into the fabric of South African society."