May 8 – Within days of being slapped with a $50,000 fine for their failure to honour an agreement to host this year’s edition of the COSAFA Cup, Zimbabwe have refused to say whether they will comply with an order to stage the next edition in 2020.
Zimbabwe were found guilty by the regional body of African football of reneging on their hosting rights following a last-minute withdrawal but would appear to have got off lightly.
Local reports said ZIFA risked a far heavier fine of up to $1 million but escaped with a lighter sentence after COSAFA’s Disciplinary Committee set aside an additional $150,000 fine on condition that the association provides Government guarantees within the next two months to host the 2020 edition.
But the greater penalty could soon be applied after Zimbabwe say they may not be able to comply with the mandate to be hosts next year.
Kirsty Coventry, the local minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, was quoted as saying she could not guarantee the cash-strapped country being able to go ahead.
“No guarantees were ever signed for 2019 or 2020 (with COSAFA),” she tweeted. “You cannot threaten an association (ZIFA) with a fine to force them to host an event.”
“If Cosafa deal for 2020 is good for Zimbabwe, we host. If bad (like 2019), it won’t happen.”
Zimbabwe are the most successful side in the COSAFA Cup with six titles and head to South Africa, parachuted in as replacement hosts, as the defending champions.
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