The Confederation of African Football (CAF) takes the enforcement of club licensing regulations seriously, as evidenced by the requirements for coaching licenses at the start of the 2022/23 CAF inter-club competition at the weekend.

Coaches without CAF A ​​licenses and assistants without CAF B licenses were banned from sitting on the bench, while coaches with qualifications from outside Africa must hold a Pro license from that particular confederation – such as a UEFA Pro licence.

South Africa, despite being regarded as one of the continent’s leading football nations with arguably the best organized league in the sub-Saharan region, were among those who drew the ire of CAF over the issue at the weekend.

Cape Town City head coach Eric Tinkler and Royal AM duo Dan Malesela and Khaba Zonda were unable to sit on the bench for their respective Champions League and Confederations Cup matches against Congo’s Otaha D’Oyo and Eswatini’s Mbabane Highlanders.

CAF club licensing consultant Kabela Bossilong, who attended a recent CAF workshop on club licensing in Cairo, says the confederation is now backing down.

“I think those are the things that we will start to see and I think we have to understand that we are not using club licensing as a punitive tool,” Kabela Bossilong explained.

“Club licensing is a professional development tool, it is the engine of what happens in football. All related confederations – UEFA, AFC, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF and OFC, as well as FIFA – came to the seminar.

“They were all part of the workshop and we were able to understand what the challenges were in the different confederations, in terms of benchmarking – what they were doing, what their main challenges were, etc.

“So we learned and others learned as we went – we’re a football family and we needed to learn and share information.

“And we’re not trying to punish the clubs, we’re not trying to punish the member associations, but we’re trying to raise the standard and sometimes we have to be tough to raise the standard so that people understand that’s the only way we can grow.”

Tinkler is said to only hold a UEFA A license and not a CAF A ​​license, while Malesela and Zonda do not have the necessary licenses to sit on the bench during inter-club matches this season.

Velile Mnyanda

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