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A really bad ‘good’ idea


A competition every two years on the CAF calendar interferes with the profit-making programme of the Uefa teams

Before we get to the very important local football matters let us shoot down a mad idea put forward by Fifa president Giano Infantino for CAF to synchronise its biennial tournament calendar with that of the international football controlling body.

This is not going to fly.

That suggestion does not suit our situation in CAF. Infantino’s idea is a self-serving suggestion meant to benefit the rich, Uefa affiliate clubs by helping them make money off the talent of the poorer federations such as CAF.

The idea, if implemented, will ensure that the northern hemisphere gets an uninterrupted supply of plentiful, cheap, talented labour from its southern neighbour.

A competition every two years on the CAF calendar interferes with the profit-making programme of the Uefa teams.

The immediate problem for the Uefa clubs is that they have per the Fifa rules to release players from the south for those players to do duty in their national associations.

This affects the likes of Sadio Mane and Moh Salah at Liverpool and many others in the La Liga, Bundes Liga and Eredivisie conferences.

A former CAF president explained the rationale for having a biennial contest instead of a four-yearly competition.

It was designed that way to help football associations across the continent with talent expansion and building football infrastructure.

That programme has thus far paid off handsomely for CAF. This is evidenced by the rise of former minnows Madagascar, Cape Verde and Namibia.

These three have risen majestically over just the last two CAF continental competitions.

Their progress has been such that they now give more established associations a run for their money. Based on that fact, there is absolutely no reason for CAF to change its calendar to suit the needs of the Uefa association.

We do not want to be ungracious here or anything of that sort, but surely the interests of CAF must come first. There is certainly no denying the fact by Uefa clubs themselves. They will acknowledge that a lot has yet to be done for football in general and players in particular on the African continent.

As it is not enough, country associations take sufficient part in CAF organised competitions.

The likes of our immediate neighbours Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana hardly come within a sniff of the continental competitions. They still struggle to make the grade at Cosafa level, as it were.

Further up north, Mauritania, the Central African Republic, Eritrea and the Sudans, among others, still have to graduate their junior teams to the senior ranks of CAF and Fifa.

So Mr Infantino, stuff that idea.

In closing, the local football action continued apace with explosive accounts in both the league and the paid contests such as the Nedbank Cup competition.

Testimony to the tightly contested money grabs in this year’s instalment of the Nedbank Cup was last year’s winners TS Galaxy who bombed out at the first round of the last 32 in defence of their title.

At the other end of the scale, Kaizer Chiefs were made to sweat for their spot on the gravy train by certified minnows Royal Eagles FC.

The Maritzburg-based Eagles side returned home this week heroes from a game that they will relate to their children and grand-kids for generations to come.

The same goes for Tsantsabane-based Hungry Lions who beat Jomo Cosmos in Potch to make for a first-time appearance in the last 16 by a Northern Cape team.

In the professional side match-ups the Clever Boys put paid to the dreams of the Buccaneers to bag themselves a hefty bank balance this season.

The other news headline grabbers are of course Golden Arrows going home after a beating by Vaal University of Technology who sent them packing 6-5 on penalties.


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