Standard Bank Knockout Cup champions Civo United have failed to secure the Super League top six finish, consequently missing out on automatic qualification for the next edition of the tournament.
On Sunday, Civo lost to Azam Tigers 2-1 at Kamuzu Stadium to stagnate on position nine with 34 points.
Even if they beat Big Bullets in their final match they will not surpass sixth-placed Tigers who have 41 points.
To secure the title, Civo beat Be Forward Wanderers 1-0 at Civo stadium in Lilongwe about two months ago.
According to Standard Bank Cup format, six top Super League automatically qualify for the quarterfinals while two other teams are voted in by the bank’s customers.
If Civo fail to get the vote, then they will become the first cup holders to miss the competition.
Commenting on the matter, Standard Bank Cup organising committee chairperson Jabber Alide ruled out giving Civo special clearance to play in the tournament on grounds that they are holders.
“If Civo is not voted into the competition then, I think, they will not defend the trophy. In my opinion, it will be totally unfair to give it special treatment,” Alide said.
Meanwhile, Civo captain Emmanuel Zoya said it is heartbreaking that they have failed to automatically qualify for the competition.
“We have had a very bad season in the Super League and it is painful that our participation in next year’s tournament hangs in balance,” he said.
The defender expressed optimism that their supporters will vote them into the competition.
“Our supporters know that we are desperate to defend the trophy and I am very positive that they will vote for us to play in the tournament,” Zoya said.
The other notable teams to miss out from the tournament are former champions Moyale Barracks and Kamuzu Barracks. n