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Zifa plead with Cosafa

by Staff reporter
04 Apr 2019 at 06:53hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Football Association has requested for a postponement of their appearance before the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa)'s disciplinary board by a week to prepare their defence.

Zifa were set to appear before a disciplinary hearing today in South Africa for reneging on their promise to host this year's Cosafa tournament.

The association spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela yesterday told NewsDaySport that they have pleaded for more time.

"We sought postponement to April 11 to give us enough time to prepare for the hearing," Gwesela said.

Cosafa general-secretary, Sue Destombes confirmed the development.

"The matter will be heard next week 11th April and the decision thereafter regarding any sanctions to be applied will be determined by the disciplinary board with reference to the Cosafa Cup Regulations, Confederation of African Football (Caf) competition regulations and the Disciplinary Code," she said.

Zifa last year confirmed their desire to host the regional tournament, a decision that was taken by the association's previous executive committee led by Philip Chiyangwa, without getting the necessary government guarantees.

Chiyangwa is the Cosafa president.

The tournament is scheduled for May 19 to June 1.

Now under a new leadership headed by Felton Kamambo, Zifa were forced to reverse the decision last month after failing to get the government guarantee.

Government claimed it had not been given enough time to prepare for the regional showpiece.

Since then, negotiations have been going on behind the scenes with Zifa, aware of the repercussions of the late withdrawal, trying to convince the government to take up the offer.

That has, however, come to naught, incensing Cosafa, who appear to be running out of time to get an alternative host for this year's tournament.

Zifa face a fine or even a ban from participating in the tournament, although the former looks the likely outcome of the hearing.

Zimbabwe last hosted the men's tournament in 2009, which the national senior football team went on to win.

They hosted the Cosafa ladies tournament in Bulawayo last year, with the Mighty Warriors taking the silver medal.

Reports yesterday suggested that Cosafa had approached a number of countries including South Africa and Namibia to take up the offer. Namibia has since publicly refuted the claims though.

Destombes confirmed that talks are currently under way with several other nations.

"Yes, we are in discussions with other countries and we expect to finalise this by Friday (tomorrow). We cannot rule out Namibia if its government and the (normalisation) committee are willing to take up the challenge and if there are facilities in place.

"We are, however, also aware that it could be difficult for Namibia to host this tournament because of the challenges it has faced this far," Destombes said.

The regional body is pushing hard for the tournament to take place, despite the hiccups, to give the five countries from the region who qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations finals which kicks off in Egypt three weeks later, a unique chance to warm up in a tournament setting.

Besides Zimbabwe, other Cosafa nations that qualified for the continental's premier football tournament are Angola, Madagascar, Namibia and South Africa.

Source - newsday

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