There have been strong calls from certain quarters of the country’s soccer fraternity for Malawi to stay away from the tournament in protest against ongoing xenophobic attacks against its citizens and other Africans in South Africa.
The ongoing xenophobic attacks against foreign African nationals have so far displaced 3200 Malawians and two have been confirmed dead.
“As Football Association of Malawi, we strongly condemn the xenophobic attacks against foreigners. We thought this was a thing of 2008. But regrettably it’s still there.
We have discussed the matter among ourselves here and spoken to Cosafa who have indicated in their statement that they will use this tournament as part of healing process in the [Southern Africa Region],” Nyirenda said.
He said Malawi FA believes that taking part in the tournament would assist in bringing reconciliation because the beautiful game unites people of different races, nationalities and religious beliefs.
“We feel we can also take the opportunity through our participation to use the tournament to reconcile the people of South Africa and the neighbouring countries.
We feel that that this tournament is important as it will not only bring people from different countries together but also assist to develop the game in the region,” he added.
Tuesday hundreds of Malawians led by some local CSOS, marched on South Africa Embassy in Lilongwe during which they presented a petition to the High Commissioner, Mbuyane Mokeane, calling her government to immediately end the violence.
In her response, Mokeane promised to dispatch the petition to her government for appropriate action.
“Fellow Africans, i wish to thank the (Malawi) CSOs for this petition and also promise that this petition will be forwarded to Pretoria,” Mokeane said.
South Africa will play host to the tournament in the North West Province from 17-31 May, which brings together all national teams from SADC member countries.
Meanwhile, Malawi national soccer team is currently in camp, preparing for the tournament will kick off its Cosafa tournament games on 24 may during which it will lock horns with Mozambique.