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Uncertainty over Cosafa Cup as Zimbabwe hosting remains doubtful

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By Mabvuto Kambuwe:

There is a cloud of uncertainty surrounding this year’s Cosafa Cup following revelations that Zimbabwe, which committed to host the regional showpiece, may not fulfill the obligation.

The competition is played between May 25 and June 8 every year but with less than two months to go, Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) officials are yet to confirm hosts for the event.

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Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) is currently under fire from Cosafa for chickening out on hosting the tournament.

Zifa was granted this year’s rights but the association failed to convince its government to host the event.

According to the regional football governing body, Zifa would be dragged to a disciplinary hearing in South Africa on Thursday.

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“The venue for the 2019 edition of the Cosafa Senior tournament, scheduled from May 25 to June 8 2019, remains undecided. Zifa is now in breach of their Hosting Agreement, signed late in January and returned to Cosafa. Following a board meeting convened on March 9 in Zimbabwe, Zifa reconfirmed their commitment to host the tournament, irrespective of whether they received government funding and guarantees.

“Zifa management committed to presenting to Cosafa written confirmation of this decision no later than March 25 2019. Unfortunately, they failed to deliver on the nominated deadline which has left Cosafa with no recourse other than to enforce disciplinary procedures which process calls for Zifa to attend a disciplinary hearing scheduled for April 4 in Johannesburg,” part of Cosafa’s statement reads.

According to Zimbabwe’s leading newspaper, The Herald, Zifa indicated that they had given up on hosting the tournament.

“Zifa President, Felton Kamambo, told The Herald on Friday that his executive had given up on hosting the tournament this year after failing to persuade the government to change its stance. But it has emerged that Zifa had, despite failing to secure a government guarantee, indicated to Cosafa they would still go ahead and stage the tournament,” reported The Herald.

Cosafa has given Zifa a last-gasp chance to escape disciplinary action should they remedy the situation before Thursday.

Football Association of Malawi General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, had earlier indicated that the Flames may not travel to the competition because of financial constraints.

Malawi is set to host the under-17 edition of the Cosafa Cup in August this year.

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