Zimbabwe and Kenya will not take part in the qualifiers for the Cote d’Ivoire 2023 TotalEnergies African Cup of Nations as confirmed by The Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The two teams were both included in the AFCON group stage qualifiers by CAF even after they had been suspended by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) over government interference in the operations of the country’s football federation.
The suspension was announced back in March 2022 at the FIFA 72nd congress hosted in Doha, Qatar. CAF included the two teams in the draw temporarily thinking the suspension would have been lifted two weeks before the start of the playoff games but the two teams couldn’t meet the criteria required for the lifting of the suspension hence their absence from the qualifiers.
This means the groups involving the two teams will have three teams each. Zimbabwe had been drawn into Group K with Morocco, South Africa, and Liberia while Kenya was in the same group as Namibia, Burundi, and the host of the last AFCON, Cameroon.
CAF statement says: Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) and Football Kenya Association (FKF) will not take part in the qualifiers and will be eliminated from the tournament.
Teams in the two groups will play their games according to the memo sent after the draw was made. The winner and runner-up team will automatically qualify for the competition.
23 countries will be looking to book their place for the final competition, joining Cote d’Ivoire as the host nation that has qualified automatically making a total of 24 teams.
The playoffs will start on June 1, 2022.