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Why Is Kenya Not Participating in the AFCON 2023 Qualifiers?

The 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will not feature Kenya’s men’s national team. This may not be news to many people. Still, the circumstances surrounding the elimination of the Harambee Stars of Kenya have raised a dust of questions that seriously need answers.

CAF had originally scheduled a qualifying format that included all 54 African countries, including the hosts, Ivory Coast. The qualifiers were slated to last from March 23rd, 2022, to March 28th, 2023, to select the 24 teams that will vie for the AFCON trophy at Ivory Coast from June 23rd to July 24th, 2023. Unfortunately, Kenya will not be one of these 24 teams at the 34th AFCON tournament after CAF disqualified them on July 23rd, 2022. Kenyan fans will not be able to bet on their favorite stars to win the AFCON tournament on Betway Zambia, and other betting platforms.

Why Was Kenya Disqualified from Participating in the AFCON 2023 Qualifiers?

The 54 CAF member football associations or federations were seeded based on FIFA’s ranking released on December 23rd, 2021. Kenya was ranked 102 on FIFA’s ranking for December and ranked 22 in Africa. Teams ranked from 1 to 42 were automatically qualified for the group stage of the qualifiers. In contrast, teams ranked 43 to 54 were made to play a pre-qualifying round of qualifiers to reach the group stage of the qualifiers.

Kenya, which failed to qualify for the 2022 AFCON tournament in Cameroon, was disqualified by CAF because they were serving an indefinite ban issued by FIFA on 25th of February, 2022. FIFA suspended Kenya indefinitely following a series of political interference and the dissolution of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) by the Kenyan government in November 2021.

The Kenyan government also arrested former leaders of the FKF. It also closed the FKF’s offices at Kandanda House over allegations of corruption and misappropriation of funds.

FIFA has rejected the move by the Kenyan government in strong terms as it prefers that such issues surrounding football should be subjected to FIFA’s internal mechanisms. FIFA wants the Kenyan government to turn over its decision and maintain the status quo. Still, the Kenyan government has refused to accent FIFA’s overtures.

After failing to reach a resolution, CAF had to disqualify Kenya from participating in the AFCON 2023 qualifiers. Zimbabwe is another nation that CAF disqualified based on similar conditions.

Conclusion

Unfortunately for Kenyan fans, the die seems cast. They may not get to see their favorite national side play at the AFCON 2023 tournament or any other tournament if the situation is not resolved quickly between the Kenyan government, the FKF, CAF, and FIFA.

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