Kenya risks being locked out of Afcon qualifiers

Harambee Stars defender Eugene Asike reacts in a past match. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Harambee Stars risk being locked out of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers that begin early next month.

The move follows a decision by world football governing body, Fifa, to suspend the country from football activities citing government interference.

Reports indicate that Confederation of African Football (CAF) have disqualified Kenya on grounds that the federation has not resolved pending issues with Fifa.

Fifa had asked Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to re-open the federation's headquarters at Kandanda House and allow officials of the disbanded FKF back in office.

Kenya, who are in Group C alongside Cameroon, Namibia and Burundi, may have to wait a little longer before they take part in an international competition.

Harambee Stars are scheduled to start their Afcon campaign away against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon on June 4. But with the imminent disqualification, the Group will be left with three teams.

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. But the CS insisted on cleaning up the sport before holding talks with CAF.

Yesterday, Kenyan referees were conspicuously missing from a list of the selected match officials for the upcoming World Cup in Qata.

Peter Waweru, Mary Njoroge and Gilbert Cheruiyot have all been snubbed by Fifa.

36 referees, 69 assistant referees and 24 video match officials (VMOs) have been chosen in close cooperation with the six confederation.

Early this year, Harambee Starlets, the women’s national football team, were locked out of the Women’s Cup of Nations under similar circumstances. 

Last week, Amina appointed a 12-member Transition Committee to run football for five weeks –replacing the Caretaker Committee, whose six months term ended on May 11.

The Caretaker was installed by the CS on November 11, 2021 to manage football affairs for a period of six months after she disbanded FKF over allegations of fraud.

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