Ajax Cape Town have received a major boost in their bid to avoid relegation after the Premier Soccer League's Dispute Resolution Chamber ruled they could field striker Tendai Ndoro for the remainder of the season, despite the club breaking FIFA rules to register him.
Ajax faced being without their R2.5-million signing for the remainder of the campaign, and also docked the precious three points they gained in their 3-1 victory over fellow strugglers Platinum Stars earlier this month.
That was because Ajax are the third club that Ndoro had played for this season after Orlando Pirates and Saudi Arabian side Al-Faisaly, breaching FIFA rule 5.3 on player registrations that states: "Players may be registered with a maximum of three clubs during one season. During this period, the player is only eligible to play official matches for two clubs."
But Ajax tweeted on Wednesday that they had been successful in their submissions to the PSL DRC, without going into detail on the judgement.
"The PSL Dispute Resolution Chamber has ruled in favour of Ajax Cape Town and Tendai Ndoro. The Zimbabwe international has been declared eligible for selection," Ajax tweeted from the club's official account.
Ndoro may go straight back into the side for tonight's league clash with, ironically, Pirates at the Cape Town Stadium.
The 32-year-old made his debut in the 3-1 victory over Stars earlier this month, netting the third goal, and also played in the 1-0 loss to Cape Town City.
When the potential error in his registration was discovered, he was dropped for the 0-0 draw with Free State Stars last Friday for fear that any points that Ajax picked up in that might be lost if the DRC ruled against him.
Both Ajax and the PSL had earlier said the misunderstanding over his registration had come about over the interpretation of the FIFA 'three club' restriction, with the club contesting they had rather used rule 5.4 as a guide, which states: "Under all circumstances, due consideration must be given to the sporting integrity of the competition.
"In particular, a player may not play official matches for more than two clubs competing in the same national championship or cup during the same season, subject to stricter individual competition regulations of member associations."
Common sense suggests rule 5.3 is the over-riding arbiter in the case, making the explanation that will come later from the PSL eagerly-anticipated.
It is also not yet clear whether Stars will contest the decision with the reversal of the three points from the match against Ajax in their favour potentially crucial come the end of the season as both clubs battle the drop.