Highlanders chairman Themba Ndlela said his club will appeal against the decision by CAF.Speaking to Radio Vop from Bulawayo, Ndlela blamed the local football governing body, the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) for the confusion which led to CAF’s decision.
“ We are not to blame for this mess.We had made our position clear to Zifa that we were not going to take part in the tournament because of financial crisis.But to our surprise the association went ahead and registered our club as participants, ” said Ndlela.
CAF also disqualified defending African club champions TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo from the continent’s Champions League for using an ineligible player.The four-time African champions were disciplined by the Confederation of African Football for fielding defender Janvier Bokungu during a preliminary stage series against Simba FC of Tanzania. The investigation was prompted by a complaint from Simba.
TP Mazembe said it would appeal the decision, which it called “unacceptable.”
The club’s place in the eight-team group stage of Africa’s top club competition will be taken by the winner of a playoff game between Simba and Morocco’s Wayad.Three other teams were handed long-term suspensions from continental club competitions.The CAF also sanctioned six clubs for various disciplinary breaches and crowd problems, handing out fines totaling $220,000.
Tunisia’s Club Africain was fined $80,000, the steepest financial punishment handed out, for a pitch invasion which caused the abandonment of a Champions League game against Sudan’s Al Hilal this month. Africain was ordered to play its next two games without supporters.Wydad meanwhile had two players and its coach punished for abusive and threatening behavior toward the referee in the match against Mazembe.
Algeria’s JS Kabylie was fined $50,000 and given a final warning after supporters threw missiles. Egypt’s Al Ahly, the six-time African club champion, was ordered to pay $40,000 and will play its first home game of the group stage behind closed doors because of “excessive usage of flares.”