Kenya To Appeal Against E Guinea AWCON Reinstatement At CAS

Nov 08 - by Mutwiri Mutuota for sportpesa news

Football Kenya Federation expresses its dismay over CAF's decision to overturn two-time African champions expulsion over fielding ineligible player

Harambee Starlets players pose for a team photo prior to their friendly match against the National U15 boys team at the Utalii Sports Grounds. PHOTO/Courtesy/FKF

  • FKF moved with speed to seek redress at the highest judicial organ for world sport that is based in Lausanne, Switzerland in a last-ditch effort to salvage Starlets' AWCON campaign
  • CAF expelled Equatorial Guinea, who are also banned from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on October17 after siding with Kenya’s appeal and finding them guilty of fielding an ineligible player during their 3-2 win on aggregate over Starlets in the final round of the 2018 AWCON qualifiers
  • The team is scheduled to play another 2018 AWCON finalist, Mali in two friendly matches in Nairobi on Friday and Sunday, with a planned departure to Ghana penned for next Wednesday (November 14)

NAIROBI, Kenya- Harambee Starlets dream to feature in a second successive Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) finals in Ghana is not yet over after Football Kenya Federation moved to appeal against the reinstatement of Equatorial Guinea at the Court for Arbitration for Sport on Thursday.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) stuck a dagger at the hearts of Kenya's 2018 AWCON charge when the governing body announced on Wednesday night it had overturned its earlier decision to lock out the two-time former champions for fielding an ineligible player.

FKF moved with speed to seek redress at the highest judicial organ for world sport that is based in Lausanne, Switzerland in a last-ditch effort to salvage Starlets' AWCON campaign.

In a statement, the federation also insisted Starlets would not disband from camp and would continue their preparations for their opening match against Zambia next Sunday (November 18).

“We are profoundly astonished by the Appeal Board of Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) decision to reinstate the Equatorial Guinea women football team to the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations, 10 days to the commencement of the tournament

“However, in light of the recent development and in the spirit of fair play we have been left with no option but to seek redress as per the statutes of CAF and FIFA, with the sole aim of promoting fairness and integrity of the sport,” part of the statement signed by FKF Director for Communications, read.

The national governing body condemned the decision as ‘a great injustice’ not only to Starlets but the Kenyan government, federation and millions of local football fans decrying the ‘enormous resources’ dedicated to the preparations of the 2018 AWCON.

“Consequently, we have written to CAF expressing our displeasure with the November 7, 2018 ruling and initiated an appeal process at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with a view to having Kenya included in the tournament and/or stopping the same from commencing until the matter is heard and resolved,” FKF declared.

CAF expelled Equatorial Guinea, who are also banned from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on October17 after siding with Kenya’s appeal and finding them guilty of fielding an ineligible player during their 3-2 win on aggregate over Starlets in the final round of the 2018 AWCON qualifiers following an appeal by FKF.

Protest upheld

“Considering CAF Statutes; CAF Regulations, in particular the Regulations of the Women AFCON 2018; and the CAF Disciplinary Code, the Disciplinary Board decides that Kenya’s protest is upheld;

"A sanction of 10, 0000 USD (Ten Thousand Dollars) is imposed on the Equatorial Guinea FA; and Equatorial Guinea’s Team is disqualified from the TOTAL African Women’s Cup of Nations 2018,” the CAF letter to FKF relaying the verdict at the time read in part.

The Equatoguineans who are banned from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup over the same claims of fielding disqualified players had edged Starlets 3-2 on aggregate in the final round of the 2018 AWCON qualifiers over two legs.

“Moreover, the timing of the decision, which comes on the back of a FIFA ban on Equatorial Guinea for fielding ineligible players during the qualification competition for the Rio 2016 Olympic women’s tournament and CAF’s decision to include Kenya, for both the Draw of the 2019 Women World Cup and the recently released 2019

AWCON fixtures, is not only retrogressive but also goes against the spirit of fair play.

“That notwithstanding, in our protest to CAF dated August 22, 2018 we stated and still have reasons to believe that one Annette Jacky Messomo is not eligible to play for the Equatorial Guinea women football team, as she is not a bona-fide citizen of the country, having lived and played all her football in Cameroon and Europe,” the federation lamented in the scathing statement.

On Wednesday, Starlets held hosts Ghana to a 1-1 draw in Nairobi in a build-up clash before the news broke later on in the night, throwing their hopes of following up their tournament debut at Cameroon 2016 into despair.

Mercy Achieng gave Starlets a 15th-minute lead when she tapped in a low cross by Mwanahalima Adam after a swift counter-attack before Black Queens rallied and deservedly got an equaliser after Linda Eshun sent a low shot into the left corner from a well-executed set piece.

The team is scheduled to play another 2018 AWCON finalist, Mali in two friendly matches in Nairobi on Friday and Sunday, with a planned departure to Ghana penned for next Wednesday (November 14).

Those plans are now shrouded in confusion as the legal battle over the reinstatement of Equatorial Guinea goes to CAS in what is an embarrassing tussle for African football and CAF.