The Confederation of African Football, CAF, has announced that Zimbabwe and Kenya will not compete in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON.
Both countries are unable to compete in next month’s qualifiers due to ongoing bans from international football imposed by FIFA for governmental interference in the game’s administration.
To be able to compete in the 2023 qualifying campaign, the pair needed their bans lifted two weeks before their first Nations Cup qualifiers.
However, neither country has been granted readmission to the international community.
The Harambee Stars, who last competed in the Nations Cup in 2019, were scheduled to play in Cameroon on 4 June, while Zimbabwe, who have appeared in the last three finals, were scheduled to host Liberia five days later.
It means that Kenya’s Group C has been reduced to Cameroon, Namibia, and Burundi, while Zimbabwe’s Group K has been reduced to Morocco, South Africa, and Liberia.
The top two from each group will advance to the tournament in Ivory Coast next year.
FIFA imposed the bans in February after the governments of both countries intervened to dissolve their respective federations.
Following allegations of misappropriation of funds, the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) was taken over, with a caretaker committee appointed in November 2021.
Kenya was included in the draw for the 2023 Nations Cup despite the sanction, with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) giving them a deadline for the ban to be lifted in order for them to participate.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s FA was suspended by the government after being accused of “gross incompetence.”
“CAF had included [Kenya and Zimbabwe] 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… the two associations; Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA)will be considered losers and eliminated from the competition,” a CAF statement read.
Kenya has contested six previous Nations Cups while Zimbabwe have been to the finals on five occasions.
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