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Zimbabwe Warriors Disqualified From CHAN Qualifiers

Zimbabwe Warriors, who were recently barred from participating in the 2023 AFCON qualifying tournament, were this week disqualified from the upcoming CHAN qualifiers where they had been drawn to face Malawi. 

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) had included them in both qualifiers on the condition that they get the FIFA suspension lifted two weeks before the opening matches.

The first round, first leg matches of the CHAN qualifiers have been scheduled to be held between July 22 and 24. 

However, responsible authorities have indicated that the local football administration needed greater attention and they have since embarked on a restructuring process fronted by the Sports and Recreation Commission. 

CAF on Tuesday confirmed that the Flames of Malawi were through to the second round of the 2022 CHAN qualifiers without kicking a ball following Zimbabwe’s decision. The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) received a letter from CAF confirming the development. Read the letter from CAF to FAM:

We are referring to the suspension of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) by FIFA Congress from all football activities. 

Unfortunately, the association of Zimbabwe did not fulfil the criteria set by FIFA Congress and is still under suspension. 

Therefore, we hereby confirm to you that the clause indicated in the draw procedures is applied: In case the suspension of Zimbabwe FA is not lifted 2 weeks before its first match, it will be considered loser and eliminated from the competition. 

Consequently, all the matches of Zimbabwe in the frame of the 1st round of the qualifiers of CHAN 2022 are now cancelled and consequently Malawi is qualified to the 2nd round of the qualifiers.

The Flames will now wait for the winner between Zambia and Mozambique in the second round of the CHAN qualifiers. 

This is the third time in two months that Zimbabwe has been disqualified from international competition due to the FIFA suspension. 

The Warriors, who last competed at the delayed 2021 AFCON finals held in Cameroon in February this year, have been sidelined from the 2023 AFCON qualifiers and the COSAFA Cup, which is currently taking place in South Africa.

Interim ZIFA president, Gift Banda told The Herald that the nation should not be worried about missing these tournaments since long-term solutions are being worked out to solve the crisis in Zimbabwean football. He added that ZIFA has since started communicating with FIFA with hopes for a reinstatement. 

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