DeMbare turns down Champs League offer

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ZIMBABWE will not have a representative in the CAF Champions League for the second year running after championship runners-up Dynamos yesterday said they will not enter the tournament through the back door. The Glamour Boys were presented with the opportunity to return to the elite continental club football competition after winners Chicken Inn announced last Friday that they were not ready to venture into the African safari.

TOGETHER AS ONE . . . Dynamos players Qadr Amini (left) and Ronald Chitiyo embrace their coach David Mandigora as they celebrate the former’s goal at Rufaro yesterday

TOGETHER AS ONE . . . Dynamos players Qadr Amini (left) and Ronald Chitiyo embrace their coach David Mandigora as they celebrate the former’s goal at Rufaro yesterday

Chicken Inn won their maiden championship this year with Joey Antipas but the club’s leadership decided against taking part in the Africa safari largely due to the financial demands and the taxing schedule. Rules state that if the champions are not able to play in the tournament for whatever reason, the second-placed team can take their place.

However, the runners-up Dynamos yesterday said they will not take up the offer. This comes after third-placed FC Platinum had already indicated that they are not ready to venture into Africa again this year.

DeMbare secretary-general Webster Chikengezha said the Harare giants felt they did not deserve the honour since they failed to win the championship. “We are not the champions so the idea of participating in the Champions League is out of the question. “We haven’t even thought about it after we failed to win the title because we don’t want to get in Africa through the back door.

“What we are going to do now is to go back to the drawing board and try to prepare strongly so that we can challenge for the championship next year. “As we had said last year, if we had won the championship we would be playing in the Champions League,” said Chikengezha. Dynamos finished second this year on 57 points while Chicken Inn were crowned champions for the first time as they finished on 61 points.

This will be the second year on the trot Zimbabwe will not be represented in Africa’s premier club competition. Dynamos, who had dominated the league in the last four years, withdrew from the tournament last year citing financial challenges.

Just like last season, Zimbabwe will only have a team in the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup after Harare City indicated they will take part following their success in the Chibuku Super Cup.

ZIFA communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said it was disappointing that Zimbabwe will not have a representative again in the Champions League. The clubs had been given end of day today as the deadline to express their willingness to play in the Africa club competitions next year.

“The Premier Soccer League should provide us with the names of the teams that should be taking part in Africa by tomorrow (today) but some of the teams, I understand, have already gone public regarding their positions. “It’s a very sad and worrying phenomena that we might not have a representative in the Champions League next year.

“We all know that taking part in such high level competitions can only improve our teams and the standard of our game. “But as we have been saying all along, what is happening in our football is just a microcosm of the macrocosm. It’s sad our teams are finding it difficult to play in Africa.

“They are facing financial challenges and you can only sympathise with them. These are some of the things the board should address,” said Gwesela.

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