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Zambia call off home friendly over South Africa riots

Zambia call off home friendly over South Africa riots
Police patrol the streets after overnight unrest and looting in Alexandra township, Johannesburg, South Africa, September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Marius Bosch -
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Marius Bosch(Reuters)
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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has called off the country’s friendly soccer international against South Africa in Lusaka on Saturday after riots in Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria left at least five people dead.

South African police arrested more than 80 people and confirmed the five deaths as violence intensified on Tuesday, spreading to surrounding townships with roving groups attacking and looting mainly foreign-owned shops.

The FAZ in a statement on Tuesday cited “prevailing security concerns in South Africa” for cancelling the fixture even though Zambia were hosting the game.

The latest wave of unrest has raised fears of a recurrence of the violence aimed at foreigners in 2015 in which at least seven people died.

The Zambia-South Africa match will be rescheduled to be played during the October window for internationals.

The South African Football Association are trying to find alternative opponents, with local media reporting that they are in talks with Madagascar to host a fixture in Johannesburg.

(Reporting by Nick Said; editing by Ken Ferris)

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