AmaZulu head coach Benni McCarthy was jumping for joy after his side had beaten Swallows FC 1-0 Wednesday, to ‘seal’ a place in next season’s Caf Champions League. “Who’s laughing now” said the cocky Capetonian to his critics, but there is just one problem – Usuthu are not yet guaranteed a place in next season’s Champions League.
If Kaizer Chiefs win the Caf Champions League, AmaZulu will not qualify, because the Confederation of African Football only allow two teams from each country into the competition. As such, Chiefs would qualify as competition winners, along with DStv Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns, and AmaZulu would slip into the Caf Confederation Cup.
This is the full rule IV:5 in the Caf Champions League regulations:
5. No Association will be allowed to engage more than two clubs within the CAF Champions League. The association of the holder of CAF Champions league is not allowed to engage another team in case the holder of CAF Champions League is defending its title. Only the holder of the title is engaged from this association when the said association is entitled to only one club. In case the association is allowed to engage two teams and the champion is defending its title, only the holder of the title and the champion of the national league will be allowed to be engaged. In that particular case, the 2nd of the league will not be allowed to engage in CAF Champions League. In case the holder of the title is at the same time the champion of the national league, he will be engaged with the 2nd of the national league and the 3rd classified team will not be allowed to participate. In case the holder of the title is at the same time the second of the national league, he will be engaged with the 1st of the national league and the 3rd team will not be allowed to engage.
Chiefs’ Champions League success would also relegate Orlando Pirates into continental ignominy, even if the Buccaneers finish third in the Premiership, usually a qualification spot for the Caf Confederation Cup. In this instance, AmaZulu would take that spot in the Confederation Cup, along with Nedbank Cup winners TTM.
The likelihood of this, of course, is small, with Chiefs severe underdogs in their semifinal against Wydad Casablanca and in a final, if they get there, against Esperance of Tunisia or Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly. But if Chiefs can succeed against all odds, it would no doubt turn McCarthy’s smile into a bit of a frown, and leave give Amakhosi one over their Soweto rivals too.