Kenya U20 has been disqualified from the 20th edition of the 2017 Africa U20 Cup of Nations qualifiers for fielding ineligible players in their first round first leg clash away to Sudan on Sunday 3 April.
Consequently, Sudan has been given a bye to the next round and will face the winner between Burundi and Nigeria in the third round qualifiers following Malawi’s withdrawal. Both teams had settled for a one-all draw in the first leg.
“The U20 Kenyan National team is disqualified from the preliminaries of the AFCON U20 – Zambia 2017 and the U20 Sudan National team is qualified to the next round,” a source from the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) revealed to Soka.
Sudan FA protested the move by the Kenya team to field five players born in 1996 when the actual tournament had been set for players born on 1st January 1997 or later.
This happens when the juniors were already in camp preparing for the return leg that had been slated for Saturday 23 April at the Nyayo National Stadium.
According to the tournament’s rules and regulations, Chapter 17 article 40.8 on Sanctions of Players, CAF Disciplinary Board that met on Tuesday 19 April is mandated to apply disciplinary measures to all incidents registered on the official match reports.
“CAF disciplinary Board is empowered to apply disciplinary measures to all incidents registered on the official match reports, before, during or after the match, and this in conformity with the present regulations and CAF disciplinary code,” it states.
Article 40.12 on the repercussions adds, “A team which allows a non-qualified or a suspended player to take part in group matches shall lose the match by penalty (3 – 0), even in the absence of protests/reservations.”
Majority of the players might be retained ahead of the upcoming assignments for instance CECAFA U20 slated for Burundi in August 2016.
Full statement from FKF
Africa’s football governing body has today disqualified the Kenya under 20 team from the preliminaries of the 2017 AFCON under 20 tournament to be held in Zambia.
According to CAF, Kenya fielded 5 players who were born in 1996 during the first leg of the qualifying match against Sudan on 3rd April 2016. The Governing body cited that the cut off for the birthdate for participating players was 1st January 1997.
The decision means that Kenya will not participate in the preliminaries of the competition and Sudan will proceed to the next stage of the competition. However, the country will be eligible to participate in the qualifying rounds of the 2019 edition of the tourney.
In its defence, Kenya’s football governing body – FKF – 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.
In its ruling, CAF noted that despite the deficiencies in communication and lack of adequate support from the Match commissioner, it was the responsibilities of its member federations to strictly adhere to CAF statutes and directives. It is on this basis that the Governing body disqualified the team.
Commenting about the disqualification, FKF’s General Secretary, Mr. Robert Muthomi stated that the Federation will not appeal the decision. “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”.
He added; “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.”
The decision will see Sudan sail through to the next round of the competition.