Zifa must act, decisively

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The Dynamos-MC Alger of Algeria saga has come and gone and what is left is a bitter pill to swallow for those denied the opportunity to progress to the next stage of the Caf Orange Champions League by a dubious referee.

But now that is water under the bridge, the onus now remains on Zifa to ensure that a proper complaint is heard in the corridors of power in Cairo, where CAF is headquartered.

This should have started before the fateful match where head of delegation, Brian Austin Chishanga was supposed to lodge an official complaint and have the match, at least even just the second half, played under protest.

Arguably, the people in Cairo will not listen to anything that comes from Southern African, which explains why Zimbabwe lost the bid to host the 2000 Afcon finals and why Kaizer Chiefs was banned from taking part in the Champions League after refusing to travel to war-torn Madagascar.

It also explains why Caf leader Issa Hayatou has never attempted, in the last 13 years, to watch even a single Cosafa match and even the Cecafa Championships, while making every effort to attend the Arab Champions League.

Southern Africa has only hosted the Afcon finals twice, in South Africa and Angola, in its history while North and West Africa have taken turns to “win” the bids.

Clearly Dynamos have been robbed and Zifa must not take this lying down because it can happen again not just to the Harare side but to any other team.

Therefore Zifa must immediately team up with South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo to push for the complete withdrawal of their teams from Africa and advocate for the formation of the Cosafa Champions League.

World soccer governing body Fifa should be made aware that the rot at Caf cannot be tolerated anymore and that any winner of the Caf Champions League who will represent Africa in the World Club Championships is not genuine because the competition has been fixed.

What boggles the mind is that Caf has already set a venue to deal with the disturbances that rocked the Zamalek of Egypt (read Caf), Club Africain of Tunisia match on Saturday.

In its statement, Caf says: “The Confederation of African Football’s Disciplinary Board is going to meet this month (April) in Johannesburg, South Africa to decide on the reports submitted by match officials on the Zamalek (Egypt) vs Club Africain (Tunisia) match which was abandoned after fans invaded the pitch on 2nd April 2011.

“Caf reiterates its call to all National Associations, clubs, players and supporters to help enforce and promote the spirit of fair play in all Caf competitions.”

The last paragraph is interesting. Clubs, players and officials are encouraged to promote the spirit of fair play while the “match officials are allowed to destroy that same spirit that others are forced to enforce”.

What hypocrisy!

Now Caf wants to give an ear to Fahim Omar, that Egyptian referee over allegations that TP Mazembe attempted to bribe him with a “negotiable” $10 000 to ease the DRC side past SC Simba.

But Caf would not want to hear anything on seven yellow cards, two red cards and seven minutes of added time from the Dynamos-MC Alger match.

Caf must just get serious and attend to club issues in a fair and transparent manner, giving an ear to all aggrieved, not this sort of Animal Farm nonsense where certain clubs are more equal than others.

Send comments to wtoni@newsday.co.zw or 0774864771