For the first time since 2017, Zimbabwe will not be at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.
Last night, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), announced the inevitable – that Zimbabwe and Kenya have been disqualified from the 2023 qualifiers.
The two countries were suspended by Fifa, for what the world football governing body termed ‘third party interference’ in the administration of the game.
CAF had given Zimbabwe a lifeline by including the Warriors in the draw for the qualifiers on condition that the Fifa suspension be lifted at least two weeks before the Warriors were set to host Liberia on match day one.
That didn’t happen and the continental body announced the expected.
To make matters worse for Zimbabwe, they will not participate in the 2022 Cosafa Cup.
The regional showpiece is a preserve for members of Fifa in Southern Africa.
What that simply means is- no international football for Zimbabwe for the next two years or so.
The development comes barely two months after Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry, assured Zimbabweans that she does not want to see any athletes miss out on international tournaments.
“My appeal is that you trust me, I am asking for
your trust. There are things that are happening. I
want to promise the committee that at the end
of the day, I am not interested in politics,
otherwise I would be a politician,” the Minister said while appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on sport last month.
“I am not interested in the flexing of muscles;
people are there to do their jobs. My biggest interest and focus is the protection of athletes
because I, as an athlete, understand what they
have been going through, and it’s not okay. I don’t want my athletes to miss out on any games because it means opportunities for them
to put bread on their tables.
“So I want to assure you that I am doing everything in my power to make sure that there
is coming together, figuring out a mutual way
forward that is a win-win,” she added.