23 days to go to the AFC Asian Cup, UAE 2019

Kenyan fury at women’s last gasp exclusion forces them to CAS; AFCON kicks off Saturday

November 15 – Kenya’s Football authorities have provided further explanation as to why they have gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over the decision to reinstate Equatorial Guinea into the upcoming Women’s Africa Cup of Nations which starts on Saturday.

Last month Kenya was awarded a place in the finals, which Ghana is staging, when the Confederation of African Football (CAF) excluded Equatorial Guinea for fielding an ineligible player in qualifying. But the governing body’s appeal board ruled differently, allowing the two-times champions to return to the competition.

In the original ruling CAF upheld a protest from Kenya which has responded furiously to the change of heart. As it stands Equatorial Guinea will open their campaign against Zambia on November 18 before facing South Africa and defending champions Nigeria. But Kenya says it still hopes to compete.

“They included us in the draw and in the fixtures, so we prepared our team,” FKF president Nick Mwendwa told the BBC. “For them to make a decision nine or 10 days to the event, is why we are in the problem we are in. If they came back to us one month ago, then we would have had enough time – but they did not.”

With just three days to go before the tournament kicks off, Mwendwa is hoping CAF moves swiftly.

“We can get to Ghana on Saturday. But we expect that if CAS would make such a decision, then we would go back to CAF and say this is what it is and we need about two days to get there. They will have to rework something.”

If the appeals go against Kenya, Mwendwa has confirmed they will seek a financial settlement.

“If the court says we’re out – then we have no recourse – but I can tell you we will pursue compensation if that happens.

“But it’s not just about money, there is a lot at stake. I need our argument understood. We are saying that in terms of procedure, CAF did not inform us when an appeal was filed by Equatorial Guinea, and therefore we did not defend ourselves at the appeals committee. They went ahead and gave us fixtures which caused the whole country to prepare – not just the team but the whole country. So we’re saying it’s unfair for them to remove us at this stage.”

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