Zimbabwe has been suspended from COSAFA and fined US$50 000 for failure to honour an agreement to host the 2019 COSAFA Cup.
Zimbabwe failed to host this year’s regional tournament set for May 25-June 8 citing inadequate facilities and less time to prepare, and South Africa has since stepped in as hosts.
For its failure to honour the agreement, the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has received a conditional suspension from COSAFA, but can remedy the situation within two months if it confirms the country as hosts of the 2020 COSAFA Cup, and provide the already signed guarantees from the Zimbabwe government to this effect.
Failure to do so will see the association suspended, though the two-month grace period will allow the national team to compete in the 2019 COSAFA Cup in Durban, South Africa from May 25-June 8.
ZIFA has also been fined US$50,000, with a further amount of US$150,000 suspended until the above condition over 2020 hosting has been met.
The COSAFA Disciplinary Body was chaired by Antonio Caetano de Sousa, accompanied by Adrian Kashala and Daud Suleman.
It means it is now all systems go for the draw for the 2019 COSAFA Cup, which will be held on the Soccer Africa magazine show on SuperSport4 from 21h30 on Thursday 2 May.
Madagascar is the only one of the 14 COSAFA countries who have declined an invitation for 2019, but will be replaced by Africa Cup of Nations-bound Uganda in what is an exciting development for the country.
The Cranes have now qualified for back-to-back continental championships and will provide an exciting extra dimension to the field in Durban.
The format for the competition will be the same as in previous years, with the eight lowest-ranked sides to be drawn into two pools each containing four sides.
The top two teams in those pools will advance to the quarter-finals, where they will on the six higher-ranked nations. The six seeded sides are Botswana, Lesotho, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia and defending champions Zimbabwe.
The four quarterfinal winners advance to the Cup semi-finals, while the losing teams will drop into the Plate competition, which provides extra matches for those teams.
This year’s COSAFA Cup will provide vital preparation for teams heading to the Nations Cup in Egypt from June 21-July 19, with Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Uganda the five from this year’s field.