Zimbabwean football champions Chicken FC Inn will not be taking part in next year’s Caf Champions League after the club’s chairman Lifa Ncube said they would rather pool their resources together to defend their title before embarking on the African safari.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
With dethroned champions Dynamos having already confirmed that they will also not be taking part even if they finish second with a win away to Buffaloes today, chances are now high that it could be FC Platinum who could carry the nation’s flag in Africa.
Ncube confirmed his team’s decision in an interview with NewsDay Sport yesterday before saying they would state their reasons in a statement to be released on Monday.
“We are not going to compete in the Caf Champions League next year. We want to defend the league title. We will be issuing a full statement on the reasons for not taking part in the Champions League on Monday,” Ncube said.
Chicken Inn become the second local club in as many years to pull out of Africa’s premier club football competition after Harare giants Dynamos also withdrew from this year’s Champions League, citing lack of financial resources.
Club chairman Keni Mubaiwa said Dynamos, who last year won the league title for the fourth successive year, would not take up the offer as they wanted to earn the right to represent the country in Africa on merit rather than by invitation.
FC Platinum spokesperson Chipo Chizondo said they would discuss the possibility of participating in the Champions League after the last matches, which will be played today.
Chicken Inn last week won the title with 58 points with one game to go, while FC Platinum are tied on 54 points with Dynamos, but occupy second place by virtue of a superior goal difference.
Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela and the Premier Soccer League said by midday yesterday, they had not received any communication from Chicken Inn regarding their Champions League status.
The deadline for registration for the 2016 Caf Champions League is Monday.