Wafcon 2022: Faz questions Caf’s eligibility test after Banda exclusion

Barbra Banda Zambia Women 2021Getty

The Football Association of Zambia has moved to set the record straight after Caf barred captain Barbra Banda from the Morocco 2022 Africa Cup of Nations for Women (Wafcon).

According to Faz, the African football governing body disowned their own mechanisms of establishing the eligibility of players to feature in the competition. 

Banda, the country’s key goalscorer, was disqualified from taking part in the ongoing showpiece on medical reasons.

"The Football Association of Zambia (Faz) was taken aback by the position of the Confederation of African Football that seemed to disown its own processes before a watching world media," the association said.

Faz’s president, Andrew Kamanga, explained why they are not satisfied with Caf’s stance.

"It was a grossly unfair statement from Caf because all the federations participating in this tournament have been subjected to the competition rules which have been set by Caf," Kamanga said.

"In this respect, we were compelled to deal with medical requirements as part of eligibility. For Caf to turn around and say they were not aware is grossly unfortunate.

"Whatever we do is part and parcel of what Caf requires. We did not exclude any player but, in this case, followed Caf regulations as prescribed by Caf."

While differing with Caf’s decision, Kamanga asked for consistency and wondered why the barred players can feature in Fifa-sanctioned competitions.

"Caf needs to apply the same standard used across various leagues and Fifa competitions for consistency since the excluded players remain eligible to play in their leagues," Kamanga continued.

"Regrettably, the players being denied an opportunity to showcase their skills on African soil have been free to play at Fifa and International Olympic Committee organized competitions that deploy a less stringent standard."

Despite the challenges, Kamanga asked the Zambians to rally behind their team in the ongoing tournament.

"For now, we urge the country to support the girls and give them an extra push, while we engage the authorities in the background," he concluded.

"We urge the public to respect the individual rights of the affected players as medical ethics demands that they enjoy the right to privacy.

"Most importantly, let us support the excluded players at this hour and ensure that justice is accorded to them."

The Shepolopolo will face Tunisia on Wednesday after an opening 0-0 draw against Cameroon.