The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has described the reinstatement of the Equatorial Guinea women football team to the 2018 African Women Cup of Nations in Ghana by the Appeal Board of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) as a “great injustice” and says it has lodged an appeal against the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland.
In a statement released today, FKF said it is “profoundly surprised” by the “retrogressive” decision which comes just ten days to the commencement of the tournament. It said an appeal process has now been initiated “at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with a view to having Kenya reinstated in the tournament or stopping the same from commencing until the matter is heard”.
The decision by FKF to head to CAS was widely expected and it remains to be seen if a resolution can be reached in time for the tournament to kick off on 17 November.
Kenya had been the beneficiaries of CAF’s decision to disqualify Equatorial Guinea from the tournament after they were found guilty of fielding an ineligible player in a qualifying match between the two countries in June.
Following an appeal by Equatorial Guinea, CAF’s Appeal Board overturned the ban ruling that the player in question – Annette Jacky Messomo – is eligible to represent the Equatoguineans and therefore ordered the “reintegration” of Equatorial Guinea to the 2018 African Women Cup of Nations.
Kenya disputes this ruling, maintaining that Annette Jacky Messomo is not “a bonafide citizen of the country having lived and played all her football in Cameroon and Europe”.
The FKF says it will forge ahead with preparations for the 2018 AWCON as its women national team the Harambee Starlets “remain in camp in preparation for our AWCON opening fixture against Zambia scheduled for November 18 at the Cape Coast Stadium”.
A further complication for CAF is the fact that the 2018 AWCON serves as a qualifying tournament for the 2019 Women World Cup in France, a tournament which Equatorial Guinea has been banned from after FIFA discovered that they used ten ineligible players during the qualification competition for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has quickly released a revised list of fixtures for Group B teams following the reinstatement of two-time continental champions Equatorial Guinea.
Equatorial Guinea who will replace Kenya in Group B, kick-off their tournament on 18 November against Zambia at the Cape Coast stadium in the second match of Group B following the opening match between Nigeria and South Africa. They go up against South Africa on 21 November and round off their group games against Nigeria on 24 November.