Kenya to play in Africa Cup of Nations after Sierra Leone disqualified
Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | Kenya will compete in the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 15 years, after Sierra Leone was disqualified by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). They join East African colleagues Uganda who qualified top of their group last month, while Tanzania could also snatch a place on the final day.
Kenya’s place was confirmed Monday after CAF disqualified Sierra Leone and annulled its results in qualifiers so far played, leaving the group with just three competitors, ensuring both Kenya and Ghana go through to the finals next year.
Third-placed Ethiopia cannot now qualify.
“Sierra Leone is disqualified from the qualifiers and all its matches are annulled,” CAF said in a statement.
Sierra Leone had played two group matches before the country’s football association was suspended by world governing body FIFA for government interference, leading to the team being barred from competition.
Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta welcomed the qualification of the Harambee Stars for the biennial continental tournament as a “game-changer” for the sport in the country.
It remains unclear who will host Africa’s premier football tournament next summer after CAF stripped defending champions Cameroon of hosting rights on Saturday, citing delays and security concerns.
Kenya last qualified for the competition in 2004.
Uganda’s Group L
Tanzania, seeking a return to the Cup of Nations after 39 years, have to beat Uganda, who have not conceded a goal in five matches, in Dar es Salaam on the final qualifying day in March, to have a realistic chance.
All qualifiers are guaranteed at least $475,000 (415,000 euros) prize money.
Congratulations #HarambeeStars?? for qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. I assure you of my support and that of the Government to facilitate and provide you with the necessary resources to ensure you are well prepared for the task ahead. Hongera! #AFCON2019
— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) December 3, 2018
Uganda 5 4 1 0 7 0 13 – qualified
Lesotho 5 1 2 2 3 7 5
Tanzania 5 1 2 2 3 5 5
C. Verde 5 1 1 3 4 5 4
Mar 18-26: C. Verde v Lesotho, Tanzania v Uganda