AmaZulu still in the dark on Champions League fate if Kaizer Chiefs beat Al Ahly
AmaZulu remain in the dark on their Caf Champions League fate if Kaizer Chiefs get the better of overwhelming favourites Al Ahly in the final at the Stade Mohammed V in Morocco on Saturday night.
Champions League spots are reserved for domestic champions (Mamelodi Sundowns won the 2020-21 DStv Premiership) and runners-up (AmaZulu). But Chiefs‚ who finished eighth last season‚ could put a spanner in the works if they beat Al Ahly to lift this year’s prestigious continental club trophy.
If Chiefs beat the Egyptian Red Devils‚ they will qualify for next season’s tournament as defending champions, leaving a situation where AmaZulu’s fate will be decided by the tournament’s Competitions Committee.
AmaZulu have qualified for the Champions League for the first time. Though they remain in the dark on whether they will be playing in the tournament next season‚ Usuthu spokesperson Brilliant Mkhathini said the Durban team are not anxious‚ but focusing on their preseason preparations.
“We can’t put the cart before the horse – we have to await the outcome of the final. It will all be down to the Caf Competitions Committee who will have ample time to deliberate and inform all affected parties. We aren’t going to panic‚” Mkhathini said.
Last month‚ SA Football Association CEO Tebogo Motlanthe was hopeful that the Confederation of African Football (Caf) would not deny AmaZulu the opportunity to play in the competition.
“They (Caf) may extend the spots – it depends on what the Caf Competitions Committee decides‚” Motlanthe said.
“Remember that as a country currently we have two Champions League spots‚ and you can’t close Chiefs out if they win the tournament because there must be a defending champion.
“But at the same time you can’t also prejudice AmaZulu, because it is a written rule that number two qualifies for the tournament. We used to have three spots. They may decide to have three again‚ depending on the circumstances.”
On the domestic front last season‚ Usuthu surpassed all expectations to finish second on the log standings behind champions Sundowns and four points ahead of third-placed Orlando Pirates.