Ethiopian flag bearers Kidus Giorgis will have to wait few hours to secure their slot to the first round of the 2018 CAF Total Champions League after their South Sudanese opponents Al Salam Wau failed to show up for the preliminary round encounter later this afternoon.
The South Sudan champions were said to touchdown in Bole International Airport boarding a Kenyan Airways flight but Ethiopian Football Federation and Kidus Giorgis officials waited for the delegation for hours in vain. Soccer Ethiopia tried to get comments from Al Salam Wau club official regarding the club failing to honor the match day but the official refrained from giving any comments.
Kidus Giorgis and EFF have sent multiple emails to Al Salam Wau regarding the continental tie. However, the South Sudanese champions have not replied back to any of the emails and requests. EFF issued a statement claiming the Kenyan match commissioner ordered the game to be staged at the planned time as per the regulation. This meant a free walk to Kidus Giorgis to the final qualifying round.
Another South Sudan club Al Hilal Juba has withdrawn from CAF Total Confederations Cup giving Tunisia side US Ben Guerdane a place in the first round. The Juba based club didn’t make it at time for kickoff and forfeited the tie.
Both clubs and the South Sudan Football Federation are expected to get fines from CAF. The 2016 CAF Champions League regulation states the following when a team withdraws from the preliminary round, ‘A withdrawal reported during the preliminary round is sanctioned with a loss of the entry right as well as a fine of five thousand (5000) U.S. dollars.’
The regulation also states the following, ‘In case of withdrawal of a team, its federation shall be responsible for the financial and other consequences to be determined by the Organizing and Disciplinary Committee of CAF.’
With a political instability in horizon, lack of proper preparation for the competitions hindered both Hilal Juba and Al Salam Wau from playing the first legs of the preliminary round.
Kidus Giorgis’s next round opponents will be either KCCA of Uganda or Madagascar champions CNaPS Sports. CNaPS came from behind to beat KCCA 2-1 in Antananarivo. Derrick Nsibambi gave the Ugandan champions the lead early in the second half before Fenosoa Ratolojanahary and Francis Rafaralahy handed the Malagasy side a slander lead before the second leg in Kampala 10 days later.