The Namibians are prepared to take their case against Burkina Faso for fielding an ineligible player in qualifying all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport
Namibia have stated their intention of appealing the Confederation of African Football’s (Caf) decision to dismiss a player eligibility case against 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying opponents Burkina Faso.
The southern Africans had protested against the inclusion of Herve Zengue in both Burkina Faso wins but Caf threw their case out due to what they termed a “procedural error” on the part of the Namibian FA. According to Caf, the Namibians took too long to protest.
However, Barry Rukoro, the general secretary of the Namibian FA believes that Caf took so long to come to a decision because it was “looking for technicalities” and has promised that his country will first appeal to the governing body itself and then take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) if their first appeal fails. Furthermore, he stressed that even the justification put forward by Caf for its own ruling was false.
"We approached the match commissioner before the match, who directed us to the match referee. Before kick-off, the two captains were called, they signed the protest and the documents were taken by the referee," he said while speaking to the BBC.
"If the referee did not submit those documents as part of his document, it should not be our problem as we are not the ones appointing the referee. The provisions of Article 37.1 evolved right in front of thousands of Namibians sitting in the pavilion waiting for the match to happen so it is very unfair for someone in Cairo to say that did not happen.”
Rukoro also stated that the on-going legal battle, which has the potential to knock out Burkina Faso from the 2012 Afcon and qualify Namibia in their place, is significant because his country is representing smaller football associations on the African continent.
"They want to knock us out on a technicality - as is normally done with smaller national associations - but if we want to play with the big guys, we have to act like some of them,” he explained.
"I would have listened to the decision more sympathetically had Caf pronounced themselves on the merits of the case - but they are quiet on whether Zengue qualifies or not.”
Zengue was born in Cameroon but is married to a Burkinabe. The defender was naturalised as a Burkina Faso citizen and received his passport just a day before the return leg against the Brave Warriors in Ouagadougou. However, the Namibians assert that he never received Fifa authorisation for a nationality switch and thus was not eligible to partake in the matches against them.
On Saturday, the Stallions of Burkina Faso were drawn into Group B of the 2012 continental showpiece, alongside Cote D’Ivoire, Angola, and Sudan.