COSAFA members plan way forward for domestic competitions

Leagues across the COSAFA region are contemplating the way forward for their domestic competitions due to the coronavirus pandemic, with some having already decided to call time on the 2019/20 campaign.

It was announced on Thursday that the Angolan Girabola campaign was declared null and void, bringing a close to the championship.

There were just five rounds to play in the 30-game season but a meeting of clubs resolved not to continue the campaign with no title awarded and no relegation.

The top two, Petro Atletico and Primeiro de Agosto, will represent the country in the Champions League, with Angola’s higher ranking with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) allowing them to enter two teams.

Petro led the table by three points from Primeiro, but had also played a game more in what was shaping up to be a tight finish.

It follows the decision of the Mauritius Football Association (MFA) last month to also cancel remainder of the championship with the prospects of matches being played on the island nation in the near future slim.

But some leagues have shown a determination to go ahead. On Thursday the Association of Elite Football Clubs of Madagascar (CFEM) met the Malagasy Football Federation (FMF) and expressed their desire to continue the season.

There are seven rounds remaining in the 2019/20 campaign, plus an additional fixture between Fosa Juniors and Zanakala FC, and as soon as it is safe to do so, play will resume.

There have so far been 128 cases of coronavirus reported on the island, but no deaths.

Other leagues are keen to get going as soon as they can, but admit it could be a long road.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) have provided some clarity on the conditions for their domestic top-flight to resume after consulting with medical experts.

They suggest that football might only resume when the country’s lockdown is at Level 1 (it is currently on Level 4), and there is no certainty whether that will be achieved in 2020.

The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) are more hopeful that football will resume in the near future and that the Zambian Super League can be completed.

“We continue to monitor the situation around the Covid-19 and we are hopeful that football will return to the pitches soon,” AZ General Secretary Adrian Kashala said last week.

“In the meantime we are urging all our members to play their part in the fight that has plunged the whole world into a health crisis.”

The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) also recently said they were keen to continue, and “has committed to host all football competitions as planned in the 2020 football calendar once football resumes.

“The season will only go ahead with some adjustments to the fixtures and allow the season to spill over to next year if the delay is within six months, April to September 2020.

“If the delay is of more than six months, that is October and beyond, the season will be considered to have been lost and FAM will start planning for another season which would start January 2021.”