Banned Kenya and Zimbabwe to be included in 2023 AFCON draw

Kenya and Zimbabwe will be included in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying draw on Tuesday despite being banned by FIFA over government interference.

“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,” a Confederation of African Football (CAF) spokesman told AFP.

A Zimbabwe government-funded umbrella sport body drew the ire of FIFA by sacking national football association executives led by Felton Kamambo over issues including failing to account for public funds.

Kenyan sports ministry officials disbanded the national football federation after its president, Nick Mwendwa, was charged with multiple counts of fraud.

CAF set a deadline of mid-May for the bans to be lifted or the countries will be barred from taking part.

Should Kenya and or Zimbabwe fail to have the suspensions lifted, the groups they are placed in will shrink from four nations to three with the top two finishers still qualifying for the finals.

The first two qualifying matchdays are scheduled between May 30 and June 14, with two more rounds between September 19 and 27 and the final two next year from March 20-28.