SECTIONS

Game of musical chairs begin at Starlets over AWCON qualifiers

Harambee Starlets Lydia Akoth and Luka Elia (left) of South Sudan in the Africa Women Cup of Nations Qualifiers return leg match at the Nyayo National Stadium, Oct 23, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Harambee Starlets hopes of qualifying for the 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations in Morocco hang in the balance following the cancellation of their two-legged final round qualifiers match against Uganda’s Crested Cranes.

The first leg was slated for February 17 while the return leg was to be played on February 23.

But according to the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA), CAF have informed them that they’ve received a letter from the disbanded Football Kenya Federation (FKF) confirming the withdrawal of Kenya from the qualifiers.

As per a letter written by former FKF CEO Barry Otieno to CAF Secretary General Veron Mosengo-Omba on January 20 2022, the federation is unable to independently plan and successfully execute any international matches which include the upcoming Kenya vs Uganda AWCON 2022 qualifier matches. 

“In view of the above and taking into consideration the existing government directive taking over all football activities,  the federation is unable to independently plan and successfully execute any international matches which include the upcoming Kenya vs Uganda AWCON 2022 qualifier matches scheduled to take place within the February 14 to February 23,  Fifa window,” read part of Otieno’s letter to CAF.

This letter was followed immediately by communication from the Ugandan FA stating that CAF had informed them of their automatic qualification to this year’s (July 3-23) continental showpiece in Morocco following Kenya’s withdrawal.

“We regret to inform you that we have just received a Kenya FA correspondence informing us on their withdrawal from Women AFCON-Morocco 2022,” read part of the statement from FUFA. Kenyans immediately took to social media to vent their disappointments as the news went viral on Friday night.

But CAF yesterday confirmed Uganda’s qualification to AWCON tournament that will bring together 12 teams.

However, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed insists Harambee Starlets will continue with their preparation for the Uganda match.

Amina warned that all those responsible with writing the letter to the Cairo-based football body will be held accountable. 

“We have learnt that there is a suspected fraudulent letter that was purportedly written to withdraw our heroins, Harambee Starlets, from the Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifier against Uganda. Anyone found to have been involved in any such attempt will be held fully accountable,” read Amina’s statement. 

“The Ministry is doing everything possible to contact the relevant authorities at the Confederation of African Football and the world football body, Fifa.”