Why Kenya is not Participating in AFCON 2023 Qualifications..?.

Kenya’s Government has called on the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to allow the country’s football team, Harambee Stars, back into the qualifying tournament for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The team was initially drawn into Group C, Burundi, Cameroon, and Namibia. Still, it was disqualified from the tournament last May due to the suspension of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) by FIFA. Canceling the opening matches against Cameroon and Namibia led to the team’s disqualification.

However, after the current FKF was disbanded and FIFA lifted its ban on Kenya in November last year, the Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba appealed to CAF to reconsider the country’s participation in the tournament.

A Caretaker Committee is now managing football in Kenya, and last week, Namwamba held talks with a delegation representing FIFA and CAF led by former Swiss international Gelson Fernandes. “I do believe that both FIFA and, especially, CAF will be considerate of Kenya’s special circumstances and allow them to participate in the qualifiers,” said Namwamba, speaking to Capital FM in Kenya. He added that he would ask CAF not to punish the team for the misdemeanors of others and that the federation would discuss the issue of how to progress in the qualifiers for the 2023 AFCON with the delegation.

Kenya was to play Burundi at home ground on the 22nd Match 2023, and the match was canceled to the burns. AFCON 2023 is set to be held in Ivory Coast in January next year after being postponed from its original dates in June and July due to weather concerns during summer in Ivory Coast.

Kenya had qualified for AFCON six times, but only in 2019, when they were held in Egypt. They have never advanced beyond the group stages.

Fernandes, who previously played in the English Premier League for Manchester City and the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt, expressed optimism that football in Kenya can progress.

“We all want to see Kenyan football back to where it belongs, and we will be working with all stakeholders to achieve this,” he told Capital FM. “No person can do everything, so we need to come together.”

The appeal by the Kenyan Government to CAF to reinstate the Harambee Stars into the AFCON qualifying tournament highlights the importance of fair play and equal opportunities in sports. The team’s disqualification due to the suspension of the FKF by FIFA was not the players’ fault, and they should not be punished for the misdemeanors of others.

The move to lift the ban on Kenya by FIFA and the ongoing discussions with CAF and FIFA represent a positive step towards the resumption of football in the country and the potential for the Harambee Stars to participate in AFCON 2023.

The team’s previous appearances in the tournament demonstrate their potential and the importance of their inclusion. A resolution that is fair to all parties involved will be reached, and Harambee Stars will be allowed to compete in AFCON 2023. Zimbabwe and Mauritius are also disqualified from the tournament.

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