The controversy centres around Burkina Faso’s fielding of Herve Zengue. (Getty Images)
(WFI) Namibia wants Burkina Faso out and its own national side in at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations.
A bid begins Friday at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland that could replace one with the other should CAS rule in favour of the appeal.
According to a report by the South African Press Association, football officials from Namibia say Burkina Faso topped its qualifying group – including 4-0 and 4-1 wins over Namibia – by fielding Cameroon-born and Chechnya-based defender Herve Zengue, who they claim is ineligible.
FIFA rules, they argue, only allow a player to dress for another country a) if a parent or grandparent was born there or b) if the player himself has lived there for at least five years.
Zengue meets neither description, but the Confederation of African Football has already twice denied Namibia’s appeals.
Should CAS decide otherwise, the forfeited points from Burkina Faso would send Namibia to the top of their qualifying group and on to West Africa later this month.
The Africa Cup of Nations tournament kicks off Jan. 21 in Bata, Equatorial Guinea and wraps up Feb. 12 in Libreville, Gabon.
In the meantime, qualification for the 2013 edition actually begins this weekend when Sao Tome and Principe hosts Lesotho for the first leg of a home-and-away tie.
The crammed schedule comes because CAF switched the biennial African showcase from even to odd years to avoid every other edition falling in the same year as a FIFA World Cup.
Also this weekend, warm-up for the 2012 Cup of Nations gets underway with a series of friendly fixtures scheduled among the 16 participating sides.
A scrimmage between South Africa and co-host Equatorial Guinea will inaugurate 40,000-seat Estadio Bata, one of four stadia for the continental championship.
By INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson
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