Mukudzei Chingwere Sports Reporter
ZIFA president Felton Kamambo has questioned CAF’s decision to switch FC Platinum’s Champions League battle against defending champions Esperance of Tunisia saying it gives an impression there were some third forces at play.
The match was switched from Mandava to Barbourfields and the CAF leaders have already turned down an appeal by the Zvishavane miners to have that big game at Mandava.
Kamambo wrote to CAF questioning the change of venue after the continental football governing body had initially agreed to have the match plyaed at Mandava.
‘’The Zimbabwe Football Association acknowledges receipt of your letter dated 11 March 2019 and your decision to change the venue of the FC Platinum vs Esperance match from Mandava Stadium to Barbourfields stadium,’’ Kamambo wrote.
‘’The Association is baffled by this decision that is being pronounced 5 days before the match.
‘’We also remind you of your letter dated 24 February 2019 in which you provisionally homologated Mandava Stadium to host this match, which only suggest that you working under pressure from third parties, and which is regrettable, should that be the case.
‘’Mandava has hosted several CAF games and we have enough quality hotels in Zvishavane to accommodate Esperance.
‘’We don’t understand what has prompted your decision to change the venue. I have personally talked to FC Platinum and there is adequate space available to accommodate Esperance.
‘’Furthermore, our office provisionally booked for Esperance accommodation at Pote Hill Hotel, which is a four-star hotel. I must say, the hotel houses state-of-the-art facilities, similar to what our team has enjoyed on their away games.’’
Kamambo said it appeared some teams were more important than others.
‘’We are surprised by this sudden change and we feel our club is being treated unfairly considering that it had prepared adequately to host the match at Mandava stadium,’’ he said.
‘’I need not remind you that all teams, are equal and should be treated the same.
‘’CAF must understand that FC Platinum is a very small club that has put so much resources for the development of African football and this kind of treatment is not good for football.
‘’CAF can only repay, this investment by standing by their decision as communicated in their letter dated 24 February 2019.
‘’We, therefore, demand and respectfully expect you to uphold your earlier decision and that the match be played at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane.’’
FC Platinum said their hopes were being shattered.
“We had hoped to play the game in front of our home supporters but the authorities have refused and we will conform with their directive, our game will be played in Bulawayo,” said club spokesperson Chido Chizondo.
“The team is leaving Zvishavane tomorrow (today) to continue their preparations for the game.’’