Despite facing a race against time to prepare and register for the 2020/21 CAF Champions League by October 20, analysts have urged Nyasa Big Bullets to participate to maintain their consistency in the continental football showcase.
The reigning TNM Super League champions, who have featured in the competition for the past two consecutive seasons, have expressed doubts on whether they will carry the Malawi flag this year due to the uncertainty on football resumption.
Nyasa Big Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said the club will have to assess the situation before committing to participate.
“We need to properly digest before making any rush conclusions. Football remains suspended in Malawi due to Covid-19, the registration period runs up to October 20 and we are unsure when football will restart to prepare the team for competitions. In view of these prevailing circumstances, we will make our position very clear as regards participation in CAF,” he said.
But football marketing consultant Felix Ngamanya Sapao said Bullets stand to gain more by participating than forgoing the continental competition.
“They have two months to prepare the team and get the players fully fit,” he said.
Sapao said other clubs already started preparations for the CAF tournaments even before CAF announced the calendar for the competitions.
“They [Bullets] are the ones sleeping while other champions are signing up [players]. They as a club can isolate the players into a ‘bubble’ to prepare for the tournament all things being equal and all Ministry of Health, WHO and CAF protocols observed,” he said.
CAF on Monday opened the registration for the 2019/20 interclub competitions—the CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup.
Since some leagues were disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, CAF has set up three criterions for picking who should are eligible to represent the member associations (MAs).
The letter from CAF reads: “We kindly request you to register your clubs on the CNS in accordance to the following scenarios.
“MAs that completed the season 2019/20 the engagement teams in the next CAF IC season are the teams qualified from the national competitions 2019/20 in accordance to the criteria of engagement mentioned in articles 2 and 3 chapter 4 of regulations.
“MAs that did not complete the season 2019/209n but had set a criteria to classify the teams or to homologate the standings in the national competitions 2019/20.
“MAs that could not compete the season 2019/20 and considered that this season is totally cancelled and not counted the engaged teams are those that were qualified last season.”
In Malawi’s case, there will be no change since the 2019/20 season was completed with Nyasa Big Bullets and TNM Super League champions while Fisd Challenge Cup champions Blue Eagles are eligible to participate in Confederations Cup.
CAF has since asked MAs to open club licensing process for the clubs wishing to participate.
“You are kindly requested to remind all your clubs license applicants intending to participate in the CAF interclub competitions season 2019/20 that they must undergo the club licensing process with their respective federations,” reads Bah’s letter.
FAM club licensing and compliance manager Casper Jangale said the association will open the licensing process for those interested to participate.
Nyasa Big Bullets was booted out by Platinum FC of Zimbabwe in preliminary round while Masters FC was eliminated by Proline of Uganda.
If Bullets decides to participate in the competition, they have up to October 20 to complete the registration.
The first leg of the preliminary round will be played between November 20 and 22 while the second will be played between November 27-29.