By DEWAH Fabrice TEH
Sports writer, Kick442.com-Cameroon
Zambia has had its chances of qualifying for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon increased.
The Copper Bullets had their hopes raised after world football governing body, FIFA ordered the Bullets’ AFCON qualification rivals, Zimbabwe to resolve crisis between the Zimbabwean Football Association and the government or risk damages.
FIFA in a letter sent to ZIFA on Tuesday December 21, 2021, ordered for the reinstitution of the suspended Zimbabwe FA leadership and nullify the appointment of a new nine-person steering committee put in place by the government to manage the affairs of the FA on care-taker basis.
Football governing, FIFA, gave the Zimbabwean government latest January 3, 2022 to resolve the crisis or risk the suspension of the country from all FIFA related activities including its disqualification from the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
The order by FIFA comes weeks after Zimbabwean government through its Sports and Recreation Commission, dissolved the Zimbabwe Football Association leadership on grounds of financial misconduct including the misuse of Covid-19 funds allocated to the structure.
FIFA in an early letter had warned the Zimbabwean government, threatening to suspend the nation on grounds of government interference in its activities with the Sports and Recreation Commission writing back to the world football governing body reiterating its stands of not being ready to reinstate the former ZIFA leadership.
The present brouhaha keeps Zimbabwe’s hopes of participating in the forthcoming AFCON tournament at risk, putting Zambia pending and waiting for a possible near miraculous entry into the tournament.
This, according to AFCON rules which in its article 86, allows for such entries as it states “If a team withdraws after its qualification in the final tournament, but before the actual start, it shall be replaced by the team classified next in the group of the team in question. In default, the group to which belongs the forfeit team shall be composed of three teams.”
The above case appears applicable as Zambia finished third behind Algeria and Zimbabwe in Group H during the AFCON 2021 qualifiers with the Copper Bullets hoping to see a repeat of a 1992 incident which saw Denmark replacing Yugoslavia 10 days to the 1992 EUROs that the Danish shockingly went forward to emerge as champions.
Zimbabwe has been paired in Pool B of the 2021 AFCON where the team will be facing Senegal, Malawi and Guinea at the Kouekong Omnisport Stadium in Bafoussam. If the disqualification comes to fruition, Zambia may come in to compete in place of the Warriors.
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