Kenya and Zimbabwe have been booted out of qualifiers for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals after failing to have their FIFA suspensions set aside by this week’s deadline, the continent’s governing body said.
The football associations of both countries have been suspended for “political interference” and were only included in the draw for the qualifiers on the proviso they would be cleared by FIFA to compete.
“The two associations; Football Kenya Federation and the Zimbabwe Football Association will be considered losers and eliminated from the competition,” the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said in a statement on Tuesday.
“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.”
The top two sides in each pool advance to the finals in Ivory Coast next June and July.
Kenya had been included in Group C along with Cameroon, Namibia and Burundi. They had been scheduled to travel to Yaounde on June 4 for their pool opener.
Zimbabwe were in Group K with Morocco, South Africa and Liberia.
Morocco, who have also qualified for the World Cup, were scheduled to play back-to-back games against Zimbabwe in September and will now be able to set up friendlies against tougher opponents to boost their preparations for Qatar.
Both Kenya and Zimbabwe’s associations were dissolved by their respective governments last year and subsequently suspended by FIFA in February.
Kenya’s sports ministry disbanded its football federation as president Nick Mwendwa was charged with multiple counts of fraud, while the executive committee of Zimbabwe’s association was dissolved amid allegations of the misappropriation of funds.