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ANC veterans join call for Pirates to cancel Maccabi friendly

‘Nothing friendly about playing a team representing apartheid Israel’

Convenor of the national task team of the ANC veterans, Snuki Zikalala. File photo.
Convenor of the national task team of the ANC veterans, Snuki Zikalala. File photo.
Image: Tsheko Kabasia

The ANC Veterans League on Tuesday added its voice to growing calls for Orlando Pirates to withdraw from a scheduled pre-season friendly match against Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv on Thursday.

The league called on Bucs chairperson Irvin Khoza to immediately call off the match to take place in Spain. 

“It is unthinkable that during this period when apartheid Israeli forces are reigning terror on the Palestinian people, one of our country’s most popular teams, Orlando Pirates is playing ball with an Israeli team,” said convenor of the national task team of the ANC veterans, Snuki Zikalala.

The call for Pirates to cancel the match was initiated by organisations including Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Coalition (BDS).

“The Veteran’s League is calling on Safa (SA Football Association) bosses Danny Jordaan and Irvin Khoza to call off this match immediately. We say, as we did in the dark days of apartheid in SA, there can be no normal sport in an abnormal society,” said Zikalala.

League representatives will contact Safa to raise the matter with them directly.

On Friday, BDS released a statement, calling for Pirates to snub the friendly against Maccabi.

“There is nothing ‘friendly’ about playing a team representing apartheid Israel,” BDS said.

Meanwhile, Orlando Pirates on Monday published a statement where the club stated that it intended to continue with the scheduled match.

“Orlando Pirates’ core functioning is governed by rules. It is to the rules that Orlando Pirates went when confronted with calls to withdraw from playing Maccabi Tel Aviv. There is no cultural boycott or boycott of any form by either the South African government, Fifa or the host country that Orlando Pirates can base its refusal to play against Maccabi Tel Aviv on,” read part of Pirates’ statement.

Pirates left SA for Spain at the weekend. The team is expected to have a pre-season camp there until July 21 in Marbella, southern Spain, during which they will face Maccabi on Thursday, before taking on Independiente del Valle on Saturday.

They are also scheduled to face Spanish La Liga side UD Las Palmas on July 19.

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