Zimbabwe and Kenya will not take part in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, the Confederation of African Football has announced.
Both nations are unable to contest next month’s qualifiers because of their ongoing bans from international football, handed out by Fifa because of governmental interference in the running of the game.
The pair needed their bans lifted two weeks before their first Nations Cup qualifiers to be able to take part in the 2023 qualifying campaign.
However, neither country has been able to gain readmission to the international fold.
The Harambee Stars, whose most recent Nations Cup appearance was in 2019, had been due to play in Cameroon on 4 June while Zimbabwe, who have been present at the last three finals, were set to host Liberia five days later.
It means that Group C, in which Kenya had been placed, will now compromise of Cameroon, Namibia and Burundi while Zimbabwe’s Group K has been reduced to just Morocco, South Africa and Liberia.
The top two from the groups will qualify for next year’s tournament in Ivory Coast.
The bans imposed by Fifa in February came after both country’s governments stepped in to disband their respective federations.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) was taken over following alleged misappropriation of funds, with a caretaker committee appointed in November 2021.
Despite the sanction, Kenya were included in the draw for the 2023 Nations Cup, with the Confederation of African Football (Caf) giving them a deadline for the ban to be lifted to participate.
Zimbabwe’s FA, meanwhile, was suspended by its 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,” a Caf statement read.
“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.”
Kenya has contested six previous Nations Cups while Zimbabwe have been to the finals on five occasions. – BBC