Zimbabwe, Algeria Face AFCON Point Deduction
The Warriors of Zimbabwe and Algeria national team are on the verge of losing the three points they earned for their wins against Zambia in 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group H qualifiers after Fifa gave Chipolopolo a 10-day ultimatum or face a ban from international competitions.
Fifa are threatening the sanction on the Football Association of Zambia (Faz) after a non-councillor Damiano Mutale filed an injunction halting provincial elections after questioning the process’ legality that had been completed in six out of the 10 provinces and would have culminated in the Faz presidential elections on March 30.
The world governing body’s statutes do not permit football matters to be tabled before the courts of law with all parties encouraged to use the game’s legal remedies.
Zimbabwe beat Chipolopolo 1-2 at the Heroes National Stadium in Lusaka last November with Khama Billiat netting a brace for the Warriors while Patson Daka netted for the home side.
After having disappointed in a goal-less home draw with Botswana three days earlier, the victory over Chipolopolo had taken the Warriors into second place with four points in Group H.
If Faz fails to deal with the matter, it would mean Zimbabwe might lose the three points they earned after beating Chipolopolo and remain with a single point they earned after drawing with Botswana, while Algeria will also lose three but still lead the group with three points.
“We have 10 days to normalise and be compliant. In the last three-and-a-half months we have been in breach of Fifa statutes by having these matters in court,” Faz president Andrew Kamanga said yesterday.
“If we don’t have this case out of court in the next 10 days we are going to be sanctioned so hopefully we won’t get past the 10 days and normalise then we can have elections.
“We have rules that govern football. We have just been reminded that if not normalised we shall get a Fifa ban. Unfortunately if that happens it’s everyone that’s going to suffer so you should be asking those that have taken Faz to court — they only have six days.”
If Faz fail to dodge the Fifa ban, the implications on Group H will be far reaching and throw the pool wide open with only Algeria, Zimbabwe and Botswana left to contest for places at the final tournament.
Initially the Afcon tournament was scheduled to be held in Cameroon next January-February but the Confederation of African Football (Caf) had to move it forward to 2022 due to the coronavirus (Covid-19).
Since March, international football has been suspended as governments all over the world have closed down their borders and imposed nationwide lockdowns.
That same month, the Warriors were scheduled to take on Algeria in back-to-back qualifiers that had to be postponed.
With virtually no international matches likely to take place this year due to the novel virus, Caf at its last executive committee meeting last week had no choice but to suspend the tournament until 2022.
“After consultation with stakeholders and taking into consideration the current global situation, the tournament has been rescheduled for January 2022.
“The date for the final tournament and the remaining matches of the qualifiers will be communicated in due course,” Caf said in a statement.