Sports

Kenya dropp*d out of CAF qualifiers

Thursday, May 19th, 2022 20:35 | By
PG 30-Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama leads his team-mates in celebrating their second goal against Ethiopia in their 2019 AFCON qualifiers yesterday at Kasarani Stadium.Harambee won 3-0√
PG 30-Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama leads his team-mates in celebrating their second goal against Ethiopia in their 2019 AFCON qualifiers yesterday at Kasarani Stadium.Harambee won 3-0.

Kenya has been dumped out of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers by the continental football body Confederation of African Football.

The national football team that had been pooled together with Cameroon, Namibia and Burundi in Group C of the qualifiers that would have seen the top two teams in each group qualify for next year’s continental showpiece in Cote D’Ivore, was expected to kick off their campaign against Cameroon on June 4, but with CAF who have initially included the team in their draw last month with a hope that world football body Fifa would lift the ban, decided to drop Stars as the indefinite suspension persists.

Indefinite ban

Fifa suspended Kenya indefinitely in February, citing government interference after Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed disbanded Football Kenya Federation (FKF) on November 12 following allegations of misuse of funds.

“Kenya have been axed from the qualifiers because the suspension slapped on the country by Fifa three months ago still remains in place. They have not met any of the conditions from Fifa and CAF,” CAF officials sent a communique to FKF.

While suspending Kenya in February, Fifa president Gianni Infantino said “Kenya knew what to do to be reinstated”. However, despite CAF giving the country until 14 days to their first qualifying match against Cameroon to meet Fifa’s conditions for the suspension to be lifted, nothing was done and the Sports CS instead unveiled a Transition Committee to replace the Caretaker Committee that had its tenure expire on May 11.

Now with 2025 Afcon the earliest the team can feature in the event, it may be an opportunity for the country to put its house in order and build football structures that were missing.

However, it’s a major blow to the local players, most of whom are already languishing in poverty after several sponsors pulled out of the sport. Football fans will also miss out on the action.

“Players are the ones suffering the most in this stand-off. Football is their livelihood. We had a lot of time to sort this issue from February,” said former Harambee Stars captain Musa Otieno.

Veteran coach Robert Matano shared the same sentiments, saying the current situation in the country was a farce.

“Even in the premier league what are we playing for surely? This is a very bad thing to happen to any country because the players cannot be developed, and they cannot also be exposed to foreign clubs. I don’t know if it’s too late, but if there is something that can be done, it should be done urgently,” Matano said.

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