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Major boost for Bafana’s Afcon qualification as Fifa bans on Zimbabwe and Kenya stick

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Bafana Bafana’s chances of qualifying for next year’s African Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast received a significant boost after the Confederation of African Football upheld Fifa’s ban on Zimbabwe and Kenya.

FILE – Khuliso Mudau, Hugo Broos, coach of South Africa and Thapelo Morena of South Africa. Picture: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

Cape Town – Bafana Bafana’s chances of qualifying for next year’s African Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast received a significant boost after the Confederation of African Football upheld Fifa’s ban on Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Both African nations are currently suspended due to political interference in their football associations. CAF originally included them in the draw in the hope that their administration issues would be sorted out prior to the continental showpiece in Ivory Coast next year.

However, Zimbabwe who were grouped with Bafana Bafana, Morocco and Liberia, will now drop out of the Afcon 2023 qualifying stages.

“As a consequence of having failed to have their suspensions by FIFA set aside, Caf has confirmed that both Kenya and Zimbabwe will not participate in the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 qualifiers,” a statement on the Caf website read.

“The qualifiers will kick off on the first day of June 2022.

“Caf had included them in the official draw earlier in April 2022 on the condition that the suspension must be lifted two weeks before their first match day.

“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.”

Fifa’s 198 members voted to support the sanction of the decision by the sanction at the global football governing body’s 72nd congress held on March 31, 2022, in Doha, Qatar.

“Caf had included them in the official draw earlier in April 2022 on the condition that the suspension must be lifted two weeks before their first match day.

“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 Fifa council suspended Kenya on February 24th with immediate effect due to third party interference, in particular, the takeover of football by a caretaker committee appointed by the government, which is a serious violation of the Fifa statutes,” Fifa president Gianni Infantino had announced.

“It is therefore recommended that the congress confirm the suspension of the Football Kenya Federation, enabling the council to lift the suspension immediately and as soon as the pertinent requirements have been fulfilled.”

Bafana Bafana – the 1996 Afcon champions – missed out qualification for the continental showpiece in Cameroon last year. Hugo Broos’ side last appearance was in 2019 when they reached the quarter-finals in Egypt.

The qualifiers will kick off on the first day of June 2022. Two of the three teams will now qualify for Afcon 2023.

@ZaahierAdams

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