Highlanders were allegedly registered for the 2010 Confederation of African Football (Caf) Orange Confederation Cup by Zifa despite their advice to the soccer mother body that they did not have the resources to take part in the competition.
This came to light last night after Caf conducted the inter-clubs draw at their headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, which saw Highlanders being drawn against Nchanga Rangers of Zambia in the preliminary round of the annual competition.
The first leg will be played at home during the weekend of January 28-30 and the second leg away on the weekend of February 11-13.
If Highlanders do not take part, they will be banned from participating in any Caf competition for the next two years — the same fate that befell Masvingo United eight years ago when they pulled out after winning the then Zifa Unity Cup.
Highlanders chairman Themba Ndlela said last night: “We did not register for the competition at all. We advised Zifa that we do not have the resources to participate. We just did not register.”
Zifa acting chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze was not answering his phone last night.
Meanwhile, new Zimbabwe football champions Motor Action will face Cnaps Sports of Madagascar in the preliminary round of their debut Confederation of African Football (Caf) Orange Champions League when the continental competition kicks off next month.
Perennial campaigners Dynamos have been given a bye into the next round owing to their past performances and will meet the winner between O Real de Bangui of the Central African Republic and Moloudia de Alger of Algeria.
If they progress further, the Zimbabwean giants could have it easy going into the mini-league phase as they will meet El Merrikh or the winner between Interclube of Angola and Township Rollers of Botswana.
The preliminary round first leg match takes place on the weekend of January 28-30 at Rufaro since Motor Action Sports Club does not meet the Caf requirements, with the second leg slated for the February 11-13 weekend.
A potentially explosive first- round clash against Ivory Coast giants Asec Mimosas is in store if the Mighty Bulls beat Cnaps and the former African champions defeat ASC SNIM Casando of Mauritania in the preliminary round. Reacting to the draw last night, Motor Action coach Joey Antipas said: “It’s a tough draw. It’s important for us that we clear the preliminary round hurdle first. In football anything can happen, there is always an element of surprise.
“Madagascar is not one of the big countries in football, but the team will compete as they have qualified. As for Asec, they are one of the ex-powerhouses of football, but it still remains a very tough draw for us.”
Dynamos secretary Oliver Manyau said they were keen to do better than last season, where they finished third in the group stages, missing out on a place in the last four.
“It’s a fair draw; we have already put the past season behind us and are determined to do much better than last season. We should be able to release the provisional list of 25 players for the campaign by the end of this week,” said Manyau.
“We will make sure that we have players on the list that we have spoken to and concluded deals with,” he said.