Despite being banned by FIFA for government influence, Kenya and Zimbabwe will be included in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification draw.
The suspension for Kenya was imposed after its government replaced the FA with a caretaker committee last November while Zimbabwe’s Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) took control of ZIFA with government accusing the federations of alleged mismanagement.
In both cases, FIFA maintained that it would have preferred internal investigations instead of government interventions. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced that it still has a window open for both countries on condition they satisfy FIFA’s terms to be readmitted into the international football family – at least two weeks before the kick-off of the upcoming qualifying matches.
But in case the suspensions are not lifted two weeks before their first match day of the qualifiers, both teams will be disbanded from the tournament.
The first two qualifying match days are scheduled between May 30 and June 14, with two more rounds between September 19 and 27 and the final two next year from March 20-28. Ivory Coast, who staged the tournament in 1984 when it comprised eight teams and was won for the first time by Cameroon, will host a 24-team event next June and July.
The Ivorian’s hope home advantage will help complete a treble after becoming African champions in 1992 in Senegal and again in 2015 in Equatorial Guinea.