BULAWAYO – Bulawayo Chiefs FC, surprise winners of the 2022 Chibuku Super Cup, are hopeful of a maiden appearance in the CAF Confederations Cup next year despite the country having been banned from international football competitions over alleged government interference in the running of the popular sport.
The Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) banned Zimbabwe from international activity earlier this year after government, through the Sports and Recreation Commission, ousted the Felton Kamambo ZIFA board over a slew of alleged misdemeanours.
Despite the ban still in place, Bulawayo Chiefs spokesperson Thulani ‘Javas’ Sibanda said the club was still keeping hopes alive, adding that it would be fitting to see the suspension lifted ahead of next year’s July 31 registration.
“It is indeed a great milestone for the club. A record that will be forever celebrated at Chiefs and we will not let an opportunity pass to further another curve of our history,” said Sibanda.
He said the ambitious football outfit was ecstatic about its first cup triumph in the country’s top flight football league.
Sibanda said hopes of participation in a continental competition reserved for cup champions from different CAF member countries were being kept alive by that the registration deadline for the Confederations Cup was a distant July 2023 with the actual competition starting a month later.
“We have plenty of time to prepare; hopefully the ban gets lifted in time,” said Sibanda.
Chiefs beat Herentals 1-0 at Barbourfields Stadium on 20 November this year to lift their first ever trophy since joining the elite league few years ago.
With the iconic ZIFA Cup competition now defunct, the Chibuku Super Cup is now the competition with the country’s sole ticket for winners to play in the CAF Confederations Cup.
By dint of luck, Bulawayo Chiefs could join teams such as Caps United, Dynamos, Highlanders, FC Platinum, the now defunct Monomotapa and Blackpool, teams that have represented the country in continental inter-club competitions.