HomeSportCosafa gives clubs unfair advantage

Cosafa gives clubs unfair advantage

BLACK Rhinos coach Stanford “Stix” Mtizwa was unhappy over the none availability of two vital cogs of his team — Jameson Mukombwe and Bruce Homora — when his team lost three points after crushing 2-1 to Harare City.

insidesport with MICHAEL KARIATI


The pair were with the Warriors in South Africa for the Cosafa Castle Cup tournament.

While this could be taken as an excuse from a bad loser, Mtizwa strongly believes that had the two players been available, his team could have bagged the three points and remained in control of their destiny in the 34-match Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) programme.

Some might find fault in the former Caps United and Zimbabwe international’s excuse, but he is right in his line of thinking.

The truth is that clubs should not continue with the league programme when the national team is away on Cosafa Castle Cup assignments because this gives an unfair advantage to some.

It does not matter how many players a club has in the national team during that period but the fact that some teams have players in the national team for those three weeks and others do not have makes a difference.

Even if it is one player away with the Warriors, it is the value of that player to the club that matters most.

It would make sense if the PSL were to put on hold all top flight football matches during this Cosafa Castle Cup rather than have some teams play without their top players.

This would ensure that clubs compete on equal terms, and with the freedom to choose the best from all the 30 players they registered for the season.

Another option to avoid this hiccup would be for the PSL to shift their mid-season break to the time when this regional tournament is in motion.

Already, Black Rhinos who won the league championship way back in 1984 are feeling the absence of Mukombwe and Homora. The army side should live with the fact that they might not have the two players for three or so games during this Cosafa Castle Cup period.

This is very unfair not only to Black Rhinos, but also to all those other teams with players in the national team because this is the time they could either lose the league championship or drop into the relegation zone — that is if they are not there already.

Those who know their football would be the first to admit that one point or one goal is enough to decide the destiny of the league championship and the three points Black Rhinos dropped against Harare City have a strong bearing in their league title hopes.

In fact, the points Rhinos lost on that cool and breezy afternoon had an impact on the Zimbabwe National Army side as Chipembere fell from the top of the 18 team Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table to third place behind then joint leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars and Chicken Inn.

It is important that the PSL championship is won by a team that rightly deserves instead of taking advantage of lack of real competition because of the Cosafa Castle Cup.

On that premise, it would be better for the PSL — just like they do for Afcon and Chan qualifiers — to shelve matches when the national team is away for the Cosafa Cup. Or else, in future, teams would refuse to release their players for the Cosafa Cup as the tournament is not on the Fifa calendar.

Clubs are not obliged to release their players for national duty for tournaments like the Cosafa Cup, which are not recognised by Fifa.

Give Caps United a helping hand

Technically Caps United are out of the running for a berth in the quarter-finals of the Caf Champions League, but in football, a team is out only when the last ball of a competition has been kicked.

That is the reason why Zimbabwean football fans should be at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon to give the Green Machine a helping hand in their dream of a win over four-time Africa champions, Zamalek of Egypt.

It is a fact that the Green Machine are going through a difficult period after the back to back defeats to Al Ahly Tripoli and the 0-2 loss to little Yadah FC, but nothing remains the same forever, and Makepekepe could give football followers something to smile about.

In the same way, that soccer followers packed bars and sports bars to rally behind the Warriors in their Cosafa Castle Cup show, fans should be at the giant stadium to give the Green Machine that little push to get that vital win.

That support would be of benefit to the Green Machine two-fold. The first of which would be to push them to win and the second of which would be to assist them realise something from the gates so that they would be able to pay their players their dues.

That is what football is all about — friendship and fun.

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