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MBABANE – Football in the country cannot continue being taken for granted and CAF is out to ensure that through Club Licensing standards.

The full implementation of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Club Licensing, as embraced by world football governing mother body, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) is the target for all federations globally. Africa is behind and taking it step by step, with the economies a driving force to its implementation phases over the year since it was launched over a decade ago. It is only in the last two years that CAF has stepped up the implementation as they now want all member associations to go all out for full implementation.

As things stand, football is more expensive for clubs as those in the elite stage are expected to have sound development structures for both male and female while also owning an elite women football team, to qualify for the 2023/24 CAF inter-clubs competitions like the Champions League and Confederation Cup. It is not only just the elite teams but even football second-tier leagues like the National First Division League in the country must adhere to their own licensing standards. The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) is already announcing licensing workshops which is now seasonal to upgrade teams on the subject. The Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) has also been served with club licensing expectations ahead of the 2022/2023 season for National First Division teams.


“The under listed Club Licensing requirements are requested to be submitted by all National First Division League clubs before the commencement of the 2022/23 football season,” reads a memo to the PLE which was also shared to member clubs. The requirements include financials, lease agreements, personnel contracts (players, qualified medic and ownership documentation covering the upcoming 2022/223 season. “All clubs are therefore expected to submit all the outlined documentation to the EFA office by July 31, 2022, at the latest. Please note that no club will be allowed to register its players without a licence. It is very critical, and is a significant part of the basis for granting a licence to the club, that every documentation presented in the above stated criteria covers at least the whole of the 2022/23 season including employments for employees and staff (players, technical bench and support staff),” reads the correspondence dated July 18, 2022 and signed by the EFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Frederick Mngomezulu.

A couple of the teams in the second-tier were called and they confirmed the latest but referred all questions to the PLE, preferring to speak latter on the issue despite admitting the costs of running a football team were on the increase with each passing season. PLE Chief Operations Officer (COO) Pat Vilakati confirmed the EFA correspondence.The 1st Division CAF Club Licensing Requirements 2022/2023 season:
Legal – Club statues, declaration of ownership and control and declaration on compliance with competitions and statutory requirements of EFA, PLE, CAF and FIFA.
Infrastructure – Ownership or lease agreements of training and match venues to be used during the season. These facilities must have sanitary provisions for hygiene purposes.
Administration  and Personnel – Head coach with a CAF B licence or better, a fitness coach, team medic/doctor with a nursing certificate and secretary of the club. The applicable certificates must be attached with contracts for the specific individual.
Finance – Realisable budget covering the 2022/2023 football season (i.e. the whole season). This budget must be as realistic as possible, reflecting the realistic amounts expected.

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