The South African Men’s U17 National Team, Amajimbos, is in the West African nation to play in the 11th Edition of the CAF U17 African Youth Championships which kicks off on Sunday, 15 February.
The South Africans are based in the capital Niamey, about 1, 400km away from the restive border with Nigeria where rebels Boko Haram are staging a war against the government.
The declaration gives troops in Diffa new powers to search homes without a warrant and impose a curfew.
The curfew will force Diffa residents to stay indoors between 20h00 and 06h00 local time (19h00 and 05h00 GMT).
“We have been in constant contact with our team in Niger and so far all is well. We would like to assure all parents and family members of Amajimbos that they have nothing to worry about as the situation in the capital Niamey is under control. We have checked with our foreign mission and have confirmed that fighting is only on the far East of the country, which is very far from where team is based and where the tournament will be played. All the teams in the tournament are well guarded and there is nothing to worry about,” said SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble.
As is the standard norm with international major events, CAF and the Government of Niger have put in place adequate measures to ensure that the safety and security of teams, officials, spectators, media and all others participating in the African Youth Championships.
“We would not at any point place the lives of our players at risk and should the situation change, which is highly unlikely, we will do what is necessary to ensure that the team is not harmed in any way and is back home safely. For now we would like to wish the team well in the tournament and we believe they have what it takes to make it to the top four to automatically qualify for the 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup tournament in Chile later this year.”
Amajimbos have been drawn in Group B of the 2015 AYC and will begin their campaign with a tricky fixture against Cote d’Ivoire on Monday, 16 February. Three days later (Thursday, 19 February) they will face Mali and will round off their group stages match against Cameroon on Sunday, 22 February.