18 March 2017

Gambia: Ports in Crunch Khinsasa Decider

Gambia league champions Ports Authority will play DR Congo's AS Vita Club this weekend. The fixture billed for Sunday, will be the decider over who goes to the next phase of the Caf Champions League qualifiers.

Ports reached this stage after disposing of Ivory Coast FA Cup winners and current league leaders Sewe Sport San-Pedro in the preliminary round. Sunday's contest marks the second of a double-legged tie in Khinsasa.

The first-leg ended on a stalemate with visitors Vita Club spurring a late rally to force a share of the spoils after Ports Authority's Alagie Sarr had raced The Ferry Boys into an early lead.

This tie is being marred by bit of a furore with GPA understood to have lodged an appeal to Confederation of African Football against the DR Congolese side, who, Ports claims, fielded an ineligible player.

The player in question is Francisco Obama Ondo, a Cameroon -born but naturalized to Equatorial Guinea and the scorer of Vita Club's goal in Banjul.

Ondo is being accused of falsification of documents, suspected of changing names and registering birth certificates with different bio data.

Caf's competition commission has yet to act on the case.

The revenue Caf would rake up in TV rights by allowing Vita club through to the next round wouldn't compare to the Gambian side qualifying, and on account of that, irrespective of Ports laying a strong case, many believe Caf would overlook the West African club's argument.

Others though are of the strong conviction, Ports may succeed in their appeal giving Issa Hayatou -the man who could influence any decision taken by Caf -is no longer the continental football governing body's boss after losing to Ahmed Ahmed in yesterday's shocking polls.

How true these claims might be, remain to be seen. Caf though are not expected to pass a verdict until after Sunday's game which is scheduled to be staged at Vita's 80,000 capacity-seater stadium in Kinshasa.

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