TNM Super League champions Nyasa Big Bullets have pulled out of this year’s Caf Champions League claiming they will not have ample time to prepare for the continental club championship.
However, the withdrawal comes just a day before the resumption of training for elite teams in the country. The Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 last month gave consent to elite teams to resume training from today after seven months break due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Bullets Chief Administrator Albert Chigoga dropped the bombshell yesterday.
“The reason necessitating our plan to withdraw from the continental competition is delayed approval by authorities for early training preparations following the suspension of sports activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our letter, which was submitted to Fam on September 28, 2020 requesting permission for early training has not been replied to date, despite our persistent follow up through the association,” Chigoga said.
“Hoping that we would be given permission to start early preparations, we embarked on steps to prepare our team by testing for Covid-19 as well as conducting fitness test with our players, besides processing for Club Licensing for Caf registration. Considering how competitive Caf Champions League is, coupled with our desire to compete and not to participate for the sake of it, we feel that failure to start early preparations put us at a disadvantage to represent our country as serious contenders, hence our decision to consider withdrawing from this year’s campaign,” he added.
This means Malawi will not have a representative in this year’s Caf competitions after Blue Eagles also pulled of the Confederation Cup due to financial constraints.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Compliance Manager, Casper Jangale, said he needed more time to comment on the issue.
UD Songo of Mozambique and Platinum of Zimbabwe were given clearance to start early preparations ahead of the competitions.
Last year, Bullets and defunct Masters Security FC took part in the Caf Champions League and Confederations Cup respectively. But both sides were eliminated in the group stages as Bullets lost 2-1 on aggregate to FC Platinum of Zimbabwe whereas Masters exited after a 3-0 aggregate loss to Proline FC of Uganda.
Registration for the 2020/21 Caf Champions League and Confederations Cup will start on October 21 before the second registration period from November 11-30, 2020.
The preliminary round of the continental club championships will be played between November 27-29, with the return legs slated for December 4-6, 2020. The second preliminary round will take place between December 22-23 before the second legs between January 5-6, 2021.