Banned Zimbabwe And Kenya Included In 2023 AFCON Qualifiers
Zimbabwe and Kenya will be included in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying draw despite being under an indefinite FIFA ban.
The two nations will be in the hat when the draw is conducted on Tuesday in Johannesburg despite being banned by FIFA over government interference.
A Confederation of African Football (CAF) spokesman told AFP that they hope the bans would have been rescinded by the time the qualifiers commence. Said CAF:
We have included the two countries in the hope that the bans will be lifted no later than two weeks before the first matchday in June.
In Zimbabwe, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) sacked ZIFA executives led by Felton Kamambo over issues including failing to account for public funds, resulting in the ban.
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In Kenya, the sports ministry officials disbanded the national football federation after its president, Nick Mwendwa, was charged with multiple counts of fraud.
CAF has set a deadline of mid-May for the bans to be lifted or Zimbabwe and Kenya will not be allowed to participate in the AFCON qualifiers.
Should the two countries fail to have the suspensions lifted, the groups they are placed in will shrink from four nations to three.
However, the top two finishers will still qualify for the finals.
The first two qualifying matchdays are scheduled between 30 May and 14 June 2022.
Two more rounds will be played between 19 and 27 September and the final two next year from 20 to 28 March in 2023.
Ivory Coast will host the tournament which has expanded from just 8 teams when the country last hosted the tournament in 1984, to the current 24.