THE Confederation of African Football (Caf) interclub organising committee will decide on December 9 whether Highlanders will participate in the Champions League or a three-year ban will be effected.
REPORT BY THE SPORTS EDITOR
Highlanders were registered by Zifa for last year’s Caf Confederation Cup competition despite stating they had no financial resources to engage in African club competitions.
Zifa took the blame for this and have been pleading with the continental body to avert a three-year ban which falls under Article 13,4 of the Rules and Regulations governing the competition.
The stipulation reads: “Every club withdrawing from the competition after the establishment of the fixtures will be forbidden from playing in Caf inter-club competitions for three years following its withdrawal.”
But Zifa wrote to the continental body on Monday, registering Dynamos and Highlanders for the Champions League and the pair of third-placed Chicken Inn and Monomotapa for the Confederation Cup and appealing for leniency to enable Bosso to participate.
Caf’s Khaled Nassar of the Competitions Division wrote back to Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze yesterday: “We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated November 26 to engage Highlanders FC in the Caf inter-club competitions. However, we would like to inform you that this request will be submitted to the Bureau of Interclub competitions on December 09 2012.
“Meanwhile, in order to preserve your right to engage your teams before November 30 2012, we kindly request to send us the following before the deadline: 1-4 teams in case of approval of Caf Organising Committee to engage Highlanders FC.
“2-4 teams in case of rejection of Caf Organising Committee to engage Highlanders FC.”
In the event, the Bosso appeal fails, their only hope is a return to Africa in 2017 as the ban, according to the rules, will take effect from January 1 2013, as a club cannot serve a ban starting from the year they pulled out.
The fifth-placed team in the league was Shabanie Mine and cannot possibly come in for Highlanders in the Champions League. This might mean Dynamos will go it alone. If Caf approves, then it’s an added financial responsibility on the two clubs’ sponsors BancABC.