Caf Champions League: Simba SC claim Al Merrikh should be punished for allegedly fielding suspended players

Luis Miquissone of Simba SC and Larry Bwalya of Al Merrikh.Simba SC.

Simba SC have petitioned Confederation African Football to punish Al Merrikh after they allegedly fielded two suspended players during their Champions League fixture on Saturday.

The Msimbazi giants secured a 0-0 draw against the Sudanese outfit in their Group A match at Al-Hilal Stadium in Khartoum.

However, it has now emerged Al Merrikh allegedly fielded two players - Ramadan Agab and Mohamed Bakhit Mahmoud Mohamed – who were not supposed to feature in the game as they are serving a six-month suspension imposed on them by the Sudan Football Association.

The two players were banned by the federation for six months for signing contracts with two different teams (Al Merrikh and Al Hilal], a penalty that is scheduled to expire in mid-April.

Simba CEO Barbara Gonzalez has confirmed receipt of the documents showing the two players are indeed serving a ban and they now want Caf to take action.

“This is a copy of the decision, basically the two players signed two separate contracts with Al Merrikh and Al Hilal and have been banned from playing for six months,” Gonzalez said as quoted by Sokalabongo.

“This letter belongs to the General Secretary of Al Merrikh which they gave to the coach that he cannot use the two suspended players. The players have not played any Al Merrikh matches so far.

“They have been banned from playing until mid-April, they have made their own decision.”

Should Caf find Al Merrikh guilty, then they will be eliminated from the competition and will also be deemed to have lost the game in question.

Simba are currently leading the group on seven points having won their first two 1-0, against AS Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Al Ahly of Egypt - and managing a 0-0 draw against Al Merrikh of Sudan.

Despite topping the group, Gonzalez confirmed in a previous interview that they will only be comfortable with their pursuit to reach the quarter-finals of the competition when they get another win.

“We are ready to reach the quarter-finals and if we end up topping the group or coming second, we don’t know but our main target is to reach the quarters,” Gonzalez explained.

“In terms of what position we finish in the group, we leave that one to God, but for now we are topping the group, with a clean sheet and seven points, and we are expecting when Al Merrikh come for the fourth match, we get three points so we can sit comfortably at the top of the group with 10 points.

“We don’t know what will happen with our two remaining matches after we play Al Merrikh against AS Vita and Al Ahly.

“Our target still remains, to reach the quarter-finals and we are now targeting a minimum of 10 points to achieve our goal.”

Simba will next face Al Merrikh in their fourth match on March 16, and on the same day Al Ahly will play away against AS Vita in Kinshasa.