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World Cup Qualifier: Bafana Bafana Stranded, South Africans Blame Nigeria

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In anticipation of the high-stakes FIFA 2026 World Cup qualifier between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Bafana Bafana of South Africa, tomorrow in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, tensions have already begun to simmer.

The latest controversy was ignited by a debacle surrounding the latter team’s travel arrangements.

Scheduled to land in Uyo ahead of the match on June 7th, Bafana Bafana’s journey took an unexpected turn when their flight was delayed departing from South Africa.

Consequently, the team arrived in Port-Harcourt, hours after Uyo Airport had closed for the night, leaving them stranded in the coal city.

While the inconvenience was undoubtedly frustrating for the South African contingent, it didn’t take long for blame to be cast, with fingers pointed squarely at Nigerian authorities.

Some voices from South Africa were quick to call for retaliation, urging their football authorities to reciprocate if such situations were to arise in the future.

On social media platforms, such as Twitter, individuals voiced their opinions, reflecting the divided sentiments surrounding the incident.

One user under the handle, Constitution First, tweeted, “Nigeria must also be diverted to Kimberly next time they fly to SA. Let them catch a bus to Durban,” implying a desire for a tit-for-tat response.

Similarly, Swiss X chimed in, suggesting, “Give them the same treatment when they come to SA,” indicating a desire for parity in treatment between the two nations’ football teams.

Bulelani Mpengesi, tweeting as @Buja3D, wrote, “That’s Nigeria’s style of doing things especially when it comes to South African teams, but surely our boys are mentally prepared for this.”

His compatriots, Tebogo Koma, @TheGeopol, advised South Africa to ‘ban’ Nigerian passports, saying, “Nigeria keeps disgracing Africa in all spheres of life. SA should consider banning the Nigerian passport.”

Olive Niek, @I_amOLIVIER, wished South Africa could repay Nigeria same way: “When they come here they must drop off at Capetown Airport and transit them by Bus to either Mbombela or Polokwane, for once they must get the test of their own Medicine.”

However, amidst the clamour for retribution, others took a more measured approach, highlighting the root cause of the issue.

“And I see a lot of people are somar showing their xenophobia. Talking about how Nigeria doesn’t like us etc. Who manages Bafana Bafana? Nigeria?” asked Sotho Hun, @Tshwaneh. “Who made them leave 4 hours late and missed their flight? Nigeria? Who was supposed to reserve sleeping arrangements? Nigeria?”

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