Enugu Rangers are trailing Zamalek SC 4-1 from their first leg qualifier for the 2017 CAF Champions League group stages but have now raised an official complaint on the encounter.
A release on Wednesday indicates that the Nigerian side has sent a formal protest to CAF, which indicated that the Egyptian side contravened CAF Champions League rules by fielding an ineligible player, Hossam Paulo Salama, in that first leg win.
Paulo, a former player of Smouha, had been duly registered for the CAF Confederations Cup before he was sold to Zamalek, according to a deal announced on January 22, 2017, by Egyptian website, kingfut.com.
The website reported, “Smouha chairman Farag Amer announced that striker Hossam Paulo will join Zamalek during the January transfer window as the two clubs reached a final agreement.
“Amer announced Paulo’s departure on his official Facebook profile for seven million EGP in addition to loaning Zamalek’s defender Ahmed Dowidar till the end of the season.”
But Section 5, paragraph 7 of the CAF Champions League [REGISTRATION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLAYERS] states in part: “This list must be registered or submitted to CAF Secretariat (in case of using the offline system) before the 31st of December of the year preceding the competition.
“It can be amended until the 15th January of the year of the competition, but after the 15th January the list becomes final and no new players can be added nor replaced up to the end of the competition, except in the case contemplated in para 8 below.”
On the Facebook page of an Egyptian journalist, Rami Yousef on January 28, it was purported that Nasr Azzam, Zamalek’s legal adviser made the following statement. “The right to Hossam Paulo in accordance with Article 5, paragraph 11 of the Regulations of the African Union to participate with Zamalek in the African Champions League start of the round of 16, which is the role of the new group after adjusting the tournament system, has long been credited with Zamalek met before Day 31 January and according to the conditions of the tournament.
“Confederation of African Football refused to allow Paulo participate, with Zamalek in the Round of 32, due to the failure of Smouha officials to delete Paulo’s name form their CAF Confederation Cup roster by the 15th of the month of January.”
Salama scored the second goal in the 4-1 victory but that could be rendered of no consequence if CAF investigates and finds Rangers’ petition to be correct.
The Egyptians are scheduled to arrive in Lagos on Thursday en-route Enugu for the second leg scheduled for the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium on Sunday.