Zimbabwe are racing against time to have their international ban by FIFA lifted, so that they could be eligible to play in the African Cup of Nations(AFCON) qualifiers next month.

The Bafana Bafana’s opponents in the 2023 AFCON and Kenya, were banned from international football by FIFA, due to government interference.

The clubs have been given until next week to comply with FIFA’s requirement, or they would be out of the AFCON qualifiers.

As a member of the Confederation of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA), Zimbabwe was also expected to attend the COSAFA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Windhoek, Namibia, however COSAFA General Secretary Sue Destombes explained why Zimbabwe cannot attend the AGM.

“Unfortunately, the Zimbabwe football Association are currently suspended by FIFA Until such time as their suspensions is lifted they are not eligible to take part in any football matters including this general assembly. Unfortunately we won’t have them with us” said Destombes.

Since this suspension was effected by FIFA earlier this year, Zimbabwe has not been allowed to take part in any continental and international competitions.

The teams will miss out on the AFCON and CHAN qualifiers.

Destombes also revealed that this also means, Zimbabwe cannot play in the regional COSAFA Cup, starting in July.

Meanwhile, the Angola FA President Artur de Almeida e Silva will start his term as the COSAFA President on Saturday, as has been elected unopposed.
COSAFA, one of the six regional bodies on the continent with 14-member countries, was forced to postpone the elections in December 2021.

Destombes explains the business of this weekend and what caused the postponement.

“This as you may recall it should have taken place in December but there was a dreaded Omnicron and it needed to be postponed so here we are in Nambia with Namibian football Association and the Namibian government having taken the lead to host this event and so we are here in Windhoek and it’s a general assembly but we do have the added agenda item for the election of all of our office bearers from the president right through to the ordinary members” Destombes went on.

Also expected to attend the COSAFA AGM this weekend is CAF President Patrice Motsepe, he is the second CAF President in a space of few years to be coming from this region after Ahmad Ahmad from Madagascar.

“We are honoured certainly to have the CAF president in the house as well as the CAF general secretary. In fact CAF president arrived in Namibia today and had a series meetings with the minister of sport, the football association and most importantly the head of state his excellency Hage Geingob visits to status and all of that went very well indeed today and he will then be back with us on Saturday for our general assembly” the COSAFA General Secretary concluded.

By Velile Mnyandu

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