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Kenya hopeful of Africa Women Cup of Nations participation

NAIROBI (Xinhua) — Kenya national women’s football team, the Harambee Starlets, will not depart for Ghana on Wednesday for the 2018 CAF Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) finals that kick off on Saturday in Accra.

This is because the country is still waiting for the outcome of an appeal they will launch at the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS) against the re-instatement of Equatorial Guinea to the biannual continental competition.

The African football governing body CAF expelled Equatorial Guinea from the competition on Oct. 17 after Kenya successfully appealed against the use of an ineligible player, Anette Jacky Messomo during their final round of qualifiers.

However, CAF’s appeal board reinstated the Equatoguineans to the competition on Nov. 6 prompting the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to serve notice of a final appeal at the Lausanne-based CAS.

Speaking to Xinhua on Wednesday, FKF communications director Barry Otieno said the country had not given up efforts to take the team for what would be a second successive showing at the AWCON following their debut in Cameroon 2016.

“On Friday last week we initiated the process of appeal. Our legal team advised us due process requires we inform CAF we are not happy and that as per regulations of FIFA and CAF statutes we will be moving to CAS for an appeal,” said Otieno.

“We gave them 72 hours that lapsed on Monday and CAF has not gotten back to us. Yesterday (Tuesday), we began the process of filing and getting all the documentation ready and expect our legal person to file today (Wednesday) from London,” Otieno stated. He said the federation shall know the way forward by Friday, noting that the team is still in camp.

Two-time African champions Equatorial Guinea beat Kenya 3-2 on aggregate over two legs of their third and final round of the 2018 AWCON qualifying campaign in June but Kenya appealed against their progress to the finals, citing six players in the team who were allegedly ineligible to play for their opponents.

Initially, CAF ruled there were sufficient grounds to disqualify Equatorial Guinea from the competition.

The Equatoguineans then appealed to the board which overturned the earlier decision, knocking Kenya out of the competition.

Equatorial Guinea remain banned from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup next March on similar charges, meaning that even if they secure a top three finish at the AWCON, they will not represent Africa at the global showpiece.


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