CAF kicks Harambee Stars out of Afcon qualifiers

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has kicked Kenya out of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that begin early June.

Kenya, currently under indefinite suspension imposed on the country by Fifa in February owing to government interference, have now been expelled from Group C that had Cameroon, Namibia and Burundi.

Kenya was set to kick off her qualifying campaign away to Cameroon on June 4 but CAF’s decision means the group will have now three teams.

“Kenya have been expelled 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,” a source within the African governing body’s circles told Nation Sport on Thursday.

Kenya had been given until two weeks to their first qualifying match against Cameroon to meet Fifa’s conditions for the suspension to be lifted.

Fifa had asked the Amina Mohamed-led Ministry of Sports to open Kandanda House and return officials of the disbanded Football Kenya Federation to work.

The Sports CS has remaiend adamant that Kenya will “clean house first” before going back to Fifa for talks and re-admission.

Amina had on November 11 last year disbanded FKF and installed a Caretaker Committee for six months to take over the running of the federation’s affairs.

The committee’s term ended last week on Wednesday, before Amina installed another committee made up of majorly members from the previous committee to serve for a further five weeks.

The stalemate between the Kenyan government has already taken a few scalps along the way. The national women’s football team, Harambee Starlets, was kicked out of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifiers earlier this year in the last stage of the competition.

Starlets were to face Uganda for the ticket to Morocco for Awcon but CAF handed the Crested Cranes the ticket to the competition.

Cecafa has also locked out Starlets from the regional tournament, which Kenya is the defending champion. The tourney kicks off in June in Uganda. The national women’s Under 17 team has also suffered a similar fate, their Fifa World Cup qualifying match against South Africa also aborting.

It remains to be seen if the winners of the top flight leagues, now under the FKF Transition Committee, will play in the Caf Inter-Club competitions next season.

Vihiga Queens have already won the Women’s Premier League unbeaten while Kakamega Homeboyz and Tusker FC are neck-and-neck in the race for the men’s title.

The match officials have also not been spared either.

Peter Kamaku and Gilbert Cheruioyt were part of the provisional list that Fifa was to select match officials from to take part in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. They have since been dropped while Mary Njoroge’s participation in the Women’s World Cup in Australia will depend on whether the suspension will be lifted or not.

The same set of officials is also listed for the Cup of Nations qualifiers that kick-off on June 1.

Samuel Kuria has also been left out of the list of officials for the Caf Under-23 Cup of Nations, while Stephen Yiembe is starring at a possibility of missing out on the Under-17 tourney.

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