The Confederation of African Football has announced that Zimbabwe and Kenya will not take part in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
This decision came on Monday night after the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) both failed to satisfy FIFA's demands before their respective suspensions from football could be lifted, with both nations ultimately facing elimination from the competition before the qualifying round commences.
Kenya and Zim were in Group C and K, respectively, leaving the remaining nations in a three-way tussle for a spot at next year's tournament.
Hugo Broos' Bafana Bafana, Morocco and Liberia will now have one less team to worry about in Group K, with the top two sides set to qualify for the 24-team competition, and the same can be said of Cameroon, Namibia and Burundi in Group C.
CAF explained the reasoning behind their decision to suspend both countries.
"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," a statement on CAF's official website read.
"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."
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