PREMIER Soccer League champions FC Platinum have been handed a boost in their preparations for the CAF Champions League.
They have become the first Zimbabwean side to obtain the CAF Club Licensing certificate.
The Zvishavane miners were licensed exactly a week before the October 20 deadline set by CAF for clubs participating in the 2020-2021 inter-club competitions.
ZIFA, who are the licensing authority in Zimbabwe, yesterday said FC Platinum met the minimum requirements set by CAF.
The rest of the local clubs, including traditional giants Dynamos, Highlanders and CAPS United, are still a long way in implementing the Club Licensing regulations.
“FC Platinum were licensed this month,” said ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela.
“The local licensing body went through their documentation and were satisfied that they met both the local and CAF requirements.
“I must say they are the only Zimbabwean side that has so far managed to get this certificate.”
Among other things, the CAF Club Licensing system seeks to develop sporting infrastructure, improving the financial capacity of clubs and enhancing professionalism.
Unlike most of the local teams, who do not have stadiums they call their own, FC Platinum have done well by renovating Mandava into a fine facility.
They have set the pace in terms of corporate governance.
The platinum miners have well-defined structures that have always delivered sound administration and good football decisions.
The Zvishavane side are set to make their fifth appearance in the Champions League.
They represented Zimbabwe in the 2012, 2018, 2019 and 2020 editions.
The 2020-2021 competition is set to begin next month.
FC Platinum are Zimbabwe’s sole representatives in the upcoming inter-club competitions.
Giants Highlanders turned down the ticket to play in the second-tier — CAF Confederation Cup — because of financial challenges.
CAF have made it clear that no club will participate in this year’s competitions without a club licensing certificate.
“All engaged teams must respect the club licensing procedure and co-operate with their respective associations as non-licensed clubs will be refused participation,” said CAF in a statement.
Gwesela warned local clubs that the continental football mother body was getting tough on Club Licensing.
“CAF have announced the procedure for the licensing of any team that will take part in the inter-club competitions,” said Gwesela.
“Firstly, a club has to declare that they do not have any overdue payables.
“Secondly, they have to be compliant with statutory institutions such as NSSA and ZIMRA, which means they have to be up-to-date with tax remittances and other national levies.
“The club also has to declare that they do not owe players, and officials, in terms of signing-on fees and salaries.
“They have to produce annual statements and audited financial statements.
“On the technical aspect of the game, the coach must have a CAF A Licence. That is the reason why we have made it a pre-requisite, for any coach to sit on the bench in our Premier Soccer League, to avoid the repercussions in the long run.”
He said FC Platinum have appealed for a special dispensation.
“If a coach does not hold CAF A coaching licence, but has other alternatives like the UEFA coaching badge, a club has to apply for special dispensation,” he said.
“The CAF office will look at the documentation and make their own determination.
“So our representatives, FC Platinum, have made the application for their head coach, Hendrik de Jongh, who holds a UEFA coaching badge, and we are still waiting for the response.
“In short, CAF are taking Club Licensing to another level in order to develop football on the continent.
“The Club Licensing concept is increasingly getting improved and we encourage our clubs to update, and adapt, to the new model as it is the future of professional football.”