CAF kicks out Zimbabwe and Kenya from the 2023 AFCON qualifiers

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced that both Kenya and Zimbabwe will not take part in the 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers which will begin next month.

The two nations were banned from international football by FIFA due to what has been termed as government interference in running the sport in the countries.

Kenya was suspended after the Kenya Ministry of Sports, under Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed suspended the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) in November 2021 and appointed a caretaker committee that took charge of soccer activities in the country.

Zimbabwe also suffered suspension after the country’s federation was suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) in November 2021, citing alleged sexual harassment of female referees by technical staff and allegations of fraud, as the basis of their action.

Prior to the draw for the qualifiers of the 2023 AFCON, CAF in a letter sent to the two nations cautioned them that they’ll be considered as losers and eliminated from the competition in case the suspension is not lifted two weeks before their first matchday of their qualifiers.

However, this deadline came on Saturday, May 12 without Kenya and Zimbabwe being readmitted to the international fold. As a consequence, the two nations will not participate in the 2023 AFCON.

“As a consequence of having failed to have their suspensions by FIFA set aside, CAF has confirmed that both Kenya and Zimbabwe will not participate in the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 qualifiers,” read a statement on CAF’s website.

“The qualifiers will kick-off on the first day of June 2022.

“CAF had included them in the official draw earlier in April 2022 on condition that the suspension must be lifted two weeks before their first match day.

“Kenya and Zimbabwe, suspended for political interference, have not yet met the criteria required by the FIFA Congress as a prerequisite for lifting their suspension. As a result:

“Because of the suspension, the following will apply:

“- The two associations; Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA)will be considered losers and eliminated from the competition.

“- Groups C and K will be composed only of three teams and the order of the matches will be maintained in accordance with the match schedule that has been communicated to the teams after the draw.

“- The first and runner-up teams of those groups will qualify to the final tournament,” the statement added.

The newest development means that Group C will now comprise of Cameroon, Namibia and Burundi, while Group K will comprise of Morocco, South Africa and Liberia.

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