NAIROBI, APRIL 19- Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has said it will not appeal the decision by the Confederation of African Football Confederation (CAF) to disqualify the national Under-20 team from the Under-20 Cup of Nations Qualifiers.
CAF delivered the verdict on Tuesday evening in a letter copied to both the Kenyan and Sudanese Federations after deliberations by the tournament’s executive committee in Cairo.
“The Federation is cognizant that the governing body is a fair arbiter for all Federations and therefore the decision it has taken has recognized all the steps and future ramifications. Cut off dates for age restricted tournaments are dynamic regulations. It is important to note that non-eligibility is not the same as age cheating.” FKF CEO Robert Muthomi said in a statement.
The Sudanese FA had lodged a complaint with CAF as exclusively reported by Capital Sport after the first-leg, citing that Kenya had fielded players born in 1996 contrary to the rules that stipulate only players born on or after January 1, 1997 are eligible to participate in the Qualifiers.
In its statement, FKF say upon request from CAF, they had demonstrated its proactive efforts requesting for the updated information from several officials at the governing body.
“In addition to the endeavor to seek updated regulations, the head of the Kenya delegation during the away match, sought the match commissioner’s guidance on the same. The match commissioner ruled that players born in 1996 were eligible to play hence the continuation of the match,” FKF”s statement said.
CAF ruled that despite the fact there were communication deficiencies between Kenya, CAF and the responsibilities of the member Federations to strictly adhere to CAF statutes and directives.
Sudan now have a ticket to the second round where they will meet Mali in June.
Kenya’s team had already assembled back to camp last Monday ahead of the return leg which was to be played this Saturday in Nairobi.
This being just a violation of rules and not proved age cheating, Kenya will not face further sanctions from CAF.
It is a huge blow to head coach John Kamau and his hugely talented team as the disqualification is a huge setback towards their progress.
Kenya will now shift its attention to the Under-17 qualifiers which will be played in June where Kenya face Cameroon in the second round after Malawi withdrew.