Zungu says CAF relegation will not be ‘a train smash’
Amazulu could be relegated if Chiefs defeat Al Ahly
Amazulu chairperson Sandile Zungu says that as much as they are excited to play in CAF’S prestigious club tournament, the Champions League, it would not be a train smash if they were to be relegated to the CAF Confederations Cup. This could happen should Kaizer Chiefs win the Champions League by defeating Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the final in Casablanca, Morocco, on Saturday.
Usuthu qualified for the Champions League by virtue of finishing second behind Mamelodi Sundowns on the PSL table. However, should Amakhosi pip Ahly, they will then get Usuthu’s spot simply because they will be the defending champions. This could result in Benni Mccarthy’s charges dropping to the less spectacular Confederations Cup as another option.
SA has two spots in the Champions League, the PSL winners and the runners-up. But CAF rules also stipulate that there must be defending champions – and that would put everyone in a spot of bother.
“We are just grateful that we qualified for CAF and whether we play in the Champions League or even in the Confederations Cup we are happy.
“It does not really matter – our debut entry into the competitions is the only big deal,” said Zungu.
“I have spoken to Bobby Motaung at Chiefs to wish him luck ahead of the final.
“I also had a chat with Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane to wish him luck as well.
“Both Pitso and Chiefs are proud South African products and ambassadors.
“Obviously we prefer the more prestigious Champions League, it has more prestige, more prize money – if given the choice, we would opt for it. But I do not want to put the boys under pressure. They exceeded our expectations and they delivered,” Zungu added.
“CAF’S rules of engagements say: “In that particular case‚ the 2nd of the league will not be allowed to engage in the CAF Champions League. No association will be allowed to engage more than two clubs within the CAF Champions League. The association of the holder of CAF Champions league is not allowed to engage another team in case the holder of CAF Champions League is defending its title. Only the holder of the title is engaged from this association when the said association is entitled to only one club.”
About the futures of veteran Usuthu players Siphiwe Tshabalala and Tsepo Masilela,
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Zungu said “We will make an announcement regarding our plans for the coming season probably on Thursday. But we are excited about our squad and for the coming season.”