Kenya, Zimbabwe disqualified from AFCON 2023 qualifiers

Boys enter with Kenya's national flag before the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier football match between Kenya and Mali at Nyayo national stadium in Nairobi on October 10, 2021. (Photo by Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)

Kenya and Zimbabwe will not take part in the qualifiers for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations after they failed to overturn their suspensions by FIFA for political interference.

“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,” the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said in a statement on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: A picture of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) building in Cairo, Egypt. /Getty Images

The two countries had initially been included in the draw for the qualifiers in April on condition that their suspensions be lifted in mid-May, two weeks before the first match day gets underway on June 1.

Kenya’s suspension was a result of the Sports Ministry disbanding the national football federation (FKF) after its president, Nick Mwendwa, was charged with several counts of fraud.

Zimbabwe had been suspended after the country’s Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) took over the football federation, ZIFA.

CAF added that the teams’ respective groups, Group C and Group K, will now be composed of three teams and the match schedules initially announced will remain in place.

The teams that finish first and second in those groups will advance to the tournament in Cote d’Ivoire next year.