NAIROBI, May 24 (Xinhua) -- The Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed Tuesday that Kenya and Zimbabwe will not participate in the Cote d'Ivoire 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers that kick off across the continent next week.
The continental governing body said the decision had been taken after both countries failed to have their suspensions from international football slapped in March by FIFA lifted by the two-week deadline set by CAF before the qualifiers started.
"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," CAF said in a statement.
Kenya was paired alongside five-time champion Cameroon, Namibia and Burundi in Group C while Zimbabwe was in Group K alongside Morocco, South Africa and Liberia.
"The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and 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," CAF added.
According to the continental governing body, the top two teams of those groups will qualify for the final tournament.
The AFCON qualifiers will kick off on June 1.