By Tafadzwa Mpofu
CAF has engaged the UK government after clubs in England refused to release players for international duty during the September window due to imposed travel restrictions on red-listed countries.
Several African countries, including Zimbabwe, have been affected by the move.
The Warriors stand to miss the services of seven players, who are named in the squad to face South Africa in Harare on September 3 and away in Ethiopia for the second Group G match four days later.
The stars include Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, Luton striker Admiral Muskwe, Ipswich forward Macauley Bonne, Bournemouth defender Jordan Zemura, David Moyo of Hamilton Academical and Wigan Athletic captain Tendayi Darikwa.
CAF has now confirmed that they have written to the UK government to exempt all players on international duty from the restrictions.
A statement by the continental football body reads: “CAF has noted the current circumstances in place in Britain regarding the lack of sporting exemptions for players returning from several African countries after the international window next week.
“CAF, acting on behalf of all African Member Associations, African players and fans, has urged the British Government to urgently provide the required exemptions to enable African players to compete for their countries in the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers.
“CAF notes that similar exemptions were granted by the British Government to enable the attendance of delegations and officials, amongst others, at the finals of the European Championship held less than two months ago.”
The statement continues: “It is further noted that the circumstances in the African countries on the red list in many cases are in fact less severe than other countries not currently on this list or for which exemptions were previously provided.
“Furthermore, CAF would like to reiterate that the upcoming matches will be delivered under the strict protocols developed by FIFA and applied across the world, as was the case in previous windows and continental tournaments successfully delivered without any incidents.
“These protocols have now proven beyond a doubt that they mitigate the risks involved, reflecting the success of commensurate protocols applied domestically in England and other parts of the world.
“In light of the above, CAF has appealed as a matter of urgency, to the Football Association (FA) and the British Government that the same treatment previously applied to Europe now be extended to Africa under the principles of solidarity and equal treatment,” the statement concludes