Kenya and Zimbabwe go into 2023 Africa Cup draw, despite bans

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Kenya and Zimbabwe will be included in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying draw on Tuesday in Johannesburg, despite being banned by world governing body Fifa because of political interference in football.

“We have included the two countries in the hope that the bans will be lifted not later than two weeks before the first matchday in June,” a Confederation of African Football (CAF) spokesman told French news agency AFP.

A Zimbabwe government-funded sports organisation drew the ire of Fifa by sacking national football association executives led by Felton Kamambo over issues including failing to account for public funds.

Kenyan sports ministry officials disbanded the national football federation after its president, Nick Mwendwa, was charged with multiple counts of fraud.

CAF have set a deadline of mid-May for the bans to be lifted or the countries will be barred from taking part.

Should Kenya and/or Zimbabwe fail to have their suspensions lifted, the groups they are drawn in will shrink from four nations to three, with the top two finishers qualifying for the finals.

The first two qualifying matchdays are scheduled between 30 May and 14 June, with two more rounds between 19 and 27 September.  The final qualifying rounds will be played next year from March 20-28.

Cote d’Ivoire will host the finals next June and July.

Tuesday’s qualifying draw will create 12 groups of four teams each,  with Cote d’Ivoire . . . who automatically qualify as hosts . . . taking part to gain competitive match practice, instead of relying on often meaningless friendly matches in the tournament build-up.

Cote d’Ivoire will qualify wherever they finish in their group with the highest placed of the other three teams also booking a place at the finals.


  • Pot 1: Senegal (holders), Morocco, Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Cameroon, Algeria, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire (hosts), Burkina Faso, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Pot 2: South Africa, Cape Verde, Guinea, Gabon, Benin, Uganda, Zambia, Congo Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Kenya, Sierra Leone
  • Pot 3: Namibia, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Libya, Mozambique, Malawi, Togo, Zimbabwe, Gambia, Angola, Comoros
  • Pot 4: Tanzania, Central African Republic, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Liberia, South Sudan, Sao Tome e Principe


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