ZIFA is expecting the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to make a ruling by the end of the week on whether Highlanders’ three-year ban from participating in the African club tournaments will be lifted.
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Highlanders have a chance of taking part in the 2013 Orange Caf Champions League if that ban is lifted after finishing runners-up in the 2012 Castle Lager Premiership, tied on 69 points with champions Dynamos, but losing out on a superior goal difference.
The Bulawayo giants were slapped with a three-year ban after turning down an offer to represent the country at the African club competition in 2011, although no official communication had been sent to Highlanders.
Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze yesterday said the national football governing association was engaging with Caf and they were expecting the continental football mother body to respond on Bosso’s case by Friday.
“We have been in touch and are engaging with Caf over the Highlanders issue. We have been in contact with the competitions director and he is in liaison with the competitions committee.
“We have not confirmed any team with Caf yet as we also await the results of the Mbada Cup final. I should get hold of them by the end of the week and this time around we should not have any hitches, but make sure that we are smart in the process,” Mashingaidze said.
Highlanders chairman Peter Dube was ecstatic over the club’s performance in the 2012 season and said it has been accepted that someone made a mess leading to the ban.
He, however, urged the concerned authorities to inform stakeholders of what was happening at the right time, saying participating in the Champions League was a mammoth task, a decision he could not make on his own.
“From the mistake that happened last time, there has been acceptance that someone bungled, whoever it was. But then there is need for people to be apprised as to what is happening so that a decision is made from an informed point.
“Participating in the Champions League is a collective decision, a decision that cannot be made by the chairman, the executive committee or even the board of directors. I am sure you understand the risks associated with participating at that level. But in my personal assessment that would be a mammoth task and the club has not made a decision on that,” Dube said. Indications are that the club would probably not be in a financially sound position to venture into Africa even if they are taken back into the fold. Dube has given the thumbs up to the entire Bosso family for the team’s performance in the 2012 season.
“It means more work and even a bigger commitment next season. At no single moment was I left to do this on my own. The people were always there. It’s an assessment where we have to evaluate ourselves. It embraces everyone. We went quite a long way overally and we performed well, although we had our lapses here and there and ended up in position two,” Dube said.
A new-look Highlanders came position two in the Premiership and the nine draws that they played in the league were their major undoing although they played 29 matches unbeaten, only losing one match to Monomotapa 3-0 in Harare.
“I want to believe we worked as a family. We forgot we had problems and it’s a big salute to everyone who followed and supported to ensure a good sporting moment in the future.
“The whole technical team (led by Kelvin Kaindu), everybody included, I think they have been marvelous. We emphasised that without discipline we would not get anywhere. We always came out positive even if the results were negative. The future of the club does not look that good without them.”