Zimbabwe: COSAFA, Zimbabwe Row Escalates Over 2020 Tournament

Harare — THE fallout between the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) and its affiliate Zimbabwe is worsening after the country hinted it would not host the region's premier competition next year.

Zimbabwe appears undeterred by the decision of the COSAFA Disciplinary Committee to slap the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) with a $50 000 (R2,3 million) fine after it pulled out of hosting this year's edition at the last minute.

Zimbabwe cited inadequate facilities and insufficient time to prepare. The event will now be held in South Africa.

COSAFA has threatened a fine of $1 million (R14,4 million) penalty, and a ban to the Zimbabwe Warriors if the country again failed to host the next tournament in 2020.

Kirsty Coventry, the local minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, could not guarantee if the cash-strapped country would host the edition.

"No guarantees were ever signed for 2019 or 2020 (with COSAFA)," she tweeted.

"You cannot threaten an association (ZIFA) with a fine to force them to host an event," Coventry said.

The minister said hosting would be dependent on if doing so was viable.

"If Cosafa deal for 2020 is good for Zimbabwe, we host. If bad (like 2019), it won't happen," Coventry, the former double Olympic swimming champion, insisted.

Phillemon Machana, the acting ZIFA vice president, said the association would discuss with government on the punishment meted by COSAFA.

"Some of the conditions in the judgment also involve our stakeholders like the government, who will guide us because they are the ones who give the guarantees," Machana said.

Zimbabwe are the most successful side in the COSAFA Cup with six titles.

They head to Durban as the defending champions.

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