Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has sought Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) clarification on midfielder Isaac ‘Tcheya’ Kaliati’s eligibility for the Championship of African Nations (Chan)tournament.
Only players contracted to local clubs are allowed to play in the tournament, but the former Be Forward Wanderers winger—who recently signed a five-year deal with South African Premiership side Cape Town City—is one of the players that have been drafted into the Flames squad for Saturday’s preliminary round return leg against the Barea of Madagascar.
Rules and regulations of the tournament stipulate that foreign-based players, regardless of where they play, even within Africa, are not qualified to take part in the competition.
But FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda yesterday said they have asked CAF if the player can be featured on the basis that his international transfer certificate (ITC) is yet to be processed.
“It is quite a tricky issue because the question is where is the player contracted? And the answer would be at his new South Africa team.
“But then we have sought clarification from CAF on whether he is eligible for the tournament based on the fact that he has not been cleared and is yet to be registered by the South African League.
“So, his eligibility is still hanging so to say,” he said.
However, the FAM GS said the issue of another midfielder Micium Mhone, who was recently released by South African First Division side Jomo Cosmos, is different because his contract was terminated.
“With Micium it is a straight forward issue because all we need to do is register him in the system so that he falls under Malawian registered players.”
FAM transfer matching system manager Casper Jangale said they need to tread carefully on Kaliati’s contract because nobody can claim to have seen the player’s contract with the South African top-flight league outfit.
“We were only told about Kaliati signing the contract. Reports that he signed a five-year deal with Cape Town City are mere speculations and I cannot comment much at present,” Jangale said.
But player agent Felix Ngamanya Sapao said Kaliati is eligible to play in Chan until his international transfer certificate (ITC) is processed and issued to the South African club.
“If FAM wants to use Chan to rebuild confidence in some senior players that fell out of favour at international clubs, they have a right to include them,” he said.
But another soccer commentator George Kaudza-Masina argued that even if CAF determines that Kaliati is eligible, it would still not be right to feature him “as the competition aims at developing local talent while Kaliati has passed that stage”.