Harare - FC Platinum will be Zimbabwe’s sole representatives in continental football club competitions in 2020-21 following a decision by Highlanders and Ngezi Platinum Stars to turn down offers to participate in the CAF Orange Confederations Cup.
FC Platinum - the Zimbabwe Premier League champions - will take part in in the CAF Orange Champions League.
With the CAF registration deadline set for October 20, 2020, Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said: “Yes, I can confirm that we have only a single team participating in the 2020-21 Africa’s Club competitions,
“FC Platinum will be representing Zimbabwe in the Champions League, while there will be no representatives in the Confederations Cup. Teams that were supposed to represent the country turned down the offers.”
Highlanders booked a spot in the Confederations after winning the domestic Chibuku Super Cup. The club citied financial incapacity as its reason for turning down the chance to take a stab at continental glory.
Highlanders recently cleared a legacy debt of US$1 million and say they do not have the resources to criss-cross Africa.
Nhlanhla Dube, the Highlanders CEO, told The Southern Times Sport that, “We articulated our reasons and they're based on the reality of the costs involved in that type of undertaking.
“It is our considered view that going to the Confederation Cup tournament requires a strong financial position. Past experience shows that the club can easily fall into the type of debt that has taken years to emerge from if the safari is undertaken without adequate long-term resourcing.
“We have been focused, for the past few years and into the future, on creating a solid foundation for growth and development of the brand locally and then outside of our immediate borders.”
With Highlanders pulling out, ZIFA approached Ngezi Platinum Stars – runners-up in the domestic cup competition - to take up the slot.
However, Ngezi said they felt they had been controversially beaten in that Chibuku Super Cup final and turned down the offer to replace Highlanders in the continental club tourney.
“We turned it down, our policy is very clear on participating in Africa - it must be based on merit and nothing else. We want our boys to have the spirit of fighting and winning to take part in Africa, not as second-best,” said a Ngezi Platinum Stars official.