Kenya appeal to CAS after disqualificationThomas Kwenaite
As expected, the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) is challenging the decision of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to reinstate Equatorial Guinea in the African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) and is appealing to the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS).
In a shocking development on Wednesday, CAF reinstated serial cheats Equatorial Guinea in the AFCN after initially booting them out of the tournament for allegedly fielding an ineligible player – Annette Jacky Messomo.
Messomo was discovered to have been a Cameroonian national and following a protest lodged by Kenya, Equatorial Guinea was expelled from the tournament and Kenya, who had lost 3-2 on aggregate in the final round of qualifiers, were reinstated.
“We are profoundly astonished by the Appeal Board of CAF’s decision to reinstate Equatorial Guinea women football team to the 2018 African Women Cup of Nations, a mere 10 days to the commencement of the tournament in Ghana,” reads a statement by FKF Head of Communications Barry Otieno.
“As Football Kenya, it is our view that the decision by CAF is a great injustice not only to the Kenya national women team, but also to millions of Kenyan fans spread across the world, the Kenyan government and Federation which has since dedicated an enormous amount of resources in preparation for the tournament.
“Moreover, the timing of the decision, which comes on the back of a FIFA ban on Equatorial Guinea for fielding ineligible players during qualification for the Rio Olympic in 2016 and CAF’s decision to include the Kenya national team for both the draw and fixtures of the AWCON is not only retrogressive but goes against the spirit of fair play.
“Notwithstanding our protest to CAF, we stated and still have reason to believe that one Annette Jacky Messomo is not eligible to play for the Equatorial Guinea team is she is not a bona fide citizen of the country, having lived and played all her football in Cameroon and Europe.
“However, in light of the recent developments 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.
“Consequently, we have written to CAF expressing our displeasure with their ruling and have initiated an appeal process at the Court of Arbitration for Sport with a view to having Kenya included in the tournament and/or stopping the same from commencing until the matter is heard and resolved.”
What raises even more questions about CAF’s bizarre decision is the fact that Equatorial Guinea have on previous occasions been found guilty of fielding girls from Nigeria, Cameroon, Spain and even Brazil after falsifying their documents.
In addition, the country has been banned by FIFA from participating in the 2019 FIFA Women World Cup in France and even if they win the AWCON or end up among the top three, they will not be permitted to take part in the World Cup in France.
They have also been banned from the 2020 Olympic Games and furthermore, fined US$102 000 after it was discovered that they had fielded 10 ineligible players by forging their documents.
Fifa found that Camila Maria do Carmo Nobre de Oliveira used forged documents in the preliminary competition of the 2016 games. She was discovered to have possessed two passports with different birth dates and two birth certificates showing different parental information.
As well as missing the 2019 Women’s World Cup and the following year’s Olympics, Equatorial Guinea were also banned from the next two Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in 2018 and 2020.