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Date: 23 April 2019

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CAF prejudiced against COSAFA clubs?

[Posted 18 Feb 2011]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Is CAF prejudiced against COSAFA clubs?

Is it a myth or reality that the Confederation of African Football is prejudiced against football clubs from Southern Africa when participating in CAF Club competitions such as the Champions League and the Confederations Cup?

This old age debate has been revived once again in the Southern part of the continent following revelations that Zimbabwe's two CAF representatives, Motor Action and Dynamos have been fixtured to play their home games during the same weekend.

Critics of the continental soccer governing body have always argued that the CAF leadership manipulates fixtures to favour the progression of North and West African countries in the CAF club competitions.  

The critics contend that Southern African countries will always play their final matches away from home, to disadvantage them in the competition, and give an advantage to their opponents, if they are from the regions where the CAF leadership is mostly drawn from.

CAF Champions league's past fixtures involving Dynamos, Gunners FC, Monomotapa and Supersport United of South Africa appear to support the assertion of CAF's critics. 

Only last year, Supersport United played their second leg of the Champions League 3rd round against West African opposition, Heartland of Nigeria, and lost 1-3 in Oweri.

Another COSAFA club, Gunners FC of Zimbabwe, played their second leg during the same year (2010) away in Cairo, losing 0-2 to Al Ahly, after having played the first leg at home, which the then Zimbabwean champions had won 1-0.

The trend appeared to have started long before 2010. In 1998, Dynamos qualified for the Champions League finals for the first time. The first leg of the final was played in Zimbabwe, with DeMbare drawing 0-0 against Asec Mimosas.

The 2nd and decisive leg was played away in Abdijan. A game marred by controversy, saw the Dynamos talisman Memory Mucherahowa getting a pre-match injury as a result of an object thrown by Aswec's unrully fans from the stands, and had to pay with a bandaged head.

On the field of play, the referee appointed to handle the 1998 final was accused by Dynamos of bias, thereby killing the competitive spirit of the game, which the Zim giants blamed for their 2-4 loss.

CAF never took any action against Asec for the incident, and neither did the soccer body act on Dynamos' complaints about referee bias during the match. 

In 2008, Dynamos qualified for the mini-league phase of Champions League despite having had to play their 2nd leg against then defending African champions Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia away from home. Dynamos won both legs with an identical 1-0 scoreline for an aggregate of 2-0.

The latest accusations of bias directed at CAF come from reigning Zimbabwe Champions Motor Action, who accuse the continental body of "gross mismanagement and trying to fix out teams from Southern Africa".

The Mighty Bulls are convinced that the announcement of clashing fixtures between the Dynamos/MC Algers and the Motor Action/Asec Mimosas matches was a deliberate move to disadvantage Southern African teams financially and otherwise.

 "This shows how Caf has failed to govern soccer on this continent," complained club chief of protocol Simeon Jamanda.

 "They are very much aware that teams are struggling financially and what do they do? They fixture teams from the same country on the same weekend. I don't know if the word counter attraction exists in their vocabularly," added Jamanda.

Both Dynamos and the Bulls have been peniclled to host their opposition during the same weekend of 18-20 March. A number of options have been mooted to resolve the danger of counter attraction which is likely to hit the Bulls in the pocket, given DeMbare's large following in the capital.

The Champions have already proposed a double header to Dynamos on a Sunday, a proposal which is likely to be rejected by DeMbare, given the balance of powers between the two clubs in terms of fan-base, which favours De-7million.

CAF is well aware of the financial difficulties encountered by Zimbabwean teams in the African safari. It however remains unclear if they will allow postponement of the Bulls fixture with Asec to a week after the Dynamos-Algers game.


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