CAF mum on ZIFA protest

Thulani Sibandze

Thulani Sibandze

Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
ZIFA’S bid to have the Confederation of African Football (CAF) review their CHAN qualifier against Namibia appears to have to have hit a snag, with the continental body remaining mum on the appeal, while arranging second round fixtures scheduled for this weekend. The association officially appealed to CAF to revisit the game, particularly the penalty shoot-out incident in which Swaziland referee Thulani Sibandze made a monumental technical error that had a huge bearing on the outcome of the match.

CAF have since suspended Sibandze and his assistant Petros Mbingo over the incident.

ZIFA had appealed to CAF with a prayer to have the result possibly rescinded and a replay ordered.

ZIFA chief executive Joseph Mamutse, who sent the two-page appeal letter to CAF, said yesterday that they had been left literary “waiting for the rain’’ by the continental body.

“There has been nothing in terms of any response from CAF, so at the moment that there is nothing we can do except wait. I don’t know where to start from until we hear from CAF,’’ Mamutse said.

While Mamutse and ZIFA were left waiting, CAF went ahead to confirm the second round fixtures, with Namibia, who edged the Warriors 5-4 in that shoot-out, being pencilled in to meet Comoros Islands.

Comoros will host the first leg of that second round at the Stade de Moroni tomorrow, with the Brave Warriors receiving the Indian Ocean islanders in the reverse fixture at Sam Nujoma Stadium on August 20.

It also emerged from CAF sources that the continental body would not act on the ZIFA appeal, on a technicality.

The sources indicated that CAF had evoked a clause in the Laws of the Game in deciding to let Namibia advance while they dealt with Sibandze.

“CAF will just deal with the match officials through their ways of handling such cases.’’

In terms of a clause in Law 5, the referee’s decision is final and cannot be changed even if he has erred in executing his on-field rulings.

Law 5, which specifically deals with the referee, states that:

“The decision of the referee regarding the facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match are final. The decisions of the referee and other match officials must always be respected.

“It is a fundamental principle that match officials’ decisions must always be respected (even when they are incorrect),’’ reads the Law.

However, FIFA ordered a replay of the 2006 World Cup qualifier between Bahrain and Uzbekistan after a referee made a technical error.

UEFA also ordered a replay between England Under-19 and Norway Under-19 after another technical error by the referee in a Euro Under-19 Championship.

CAF have also been known to have the questionable way of acting long after matches were played.

Last year, the organisation let Congolese giants AS Vita proceed as far as qualifying for the group stages of the CAF Champions League, after knocking out Mamelodi Sundowns in the second round.

The Congolese side were thrown out for using an ineligible player in their preliminary round win over Tanzanian side Mafunzo.

AS Vita even went on to beat Ferroviario Maputo in the first round before eliminating Sundowns, with the South African giants falling into the CAF Confederation Cup, where they were eliminated by Medeama of Ghana.

But CAF ruled that AS Vita had used an ineligible player in a preliminary round match and reinstated Sundowns into the group stages of the Champions League, with the South Africans going on to win the tournament.

In the 2006 CAF Champions League, CAPS United defeated Inter Star of Burundi in the preliminary round and went on to play a first round, first leg tie against Raja Casablanca of Morocco, which they lost 0-1 in Casablanca.

But before the second leg could be played in Harare, CAF ruled that the Green Machine had used ineligible players in the victory over the Burundi side and expelled CAPS United from the tournament while reinstating Inter Star, who then faced Raja Casablanca.

The Senegalese Football Federation, just like ZIFA, also sent a letter of protest to CAF, but have not been given any feedback by the continental football governing body.

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