Zimbabwe has been booted out of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers after Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) refused to reinstate the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) board led by Felton Kamambo.
In a statement on Monday night, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed that Zimbabwe had been disqualified along with Kenya.
“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,” read part of the CAF statement.
“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 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. As a result:
“Because of the suspension, the following will apply: The two associations; Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA)will be considered losers and eliminated from the competition.
“- Groups C and K will be composed only of three teams and the order of the matches will be maintained in accordance with the match schedule that has been communicated to the teams after the draw.
“- The first and runner-up teams of those groups will qualify to the final tournament.”
SRC, last year suspended the ZIFA board on a litany of allegations that include abuse of public funds during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign and abuse of female referees but FIFA claimed the SRC’s allegations were not convincing and did not warrant suspension.
Government had been given two weeks before the qualifiers start to reinstate the ZIFA board.
Last month, Gerald Mlotshwa, SRC board chairperson told The NewsReport that getting Zimbabwe back to international football was not “priority”.