In a farcical move on Wednesday 7 November, the CAF Appeals Board dealt a hammer blow to Harambee Starlets’ hopes of a second straight participation at the African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) by reinstating Equatorial Guinea following an apparent appeal to an earlier successful application by Kenya, but the Football Kenya Federation not take the matter lying down and has made initial moves at having the development addressed through the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).
While the Kenya women’s national team was busy preparing for the finals to be held in Ghana starting Saturday 17 November, the Appeals Board pulled a fast one on the team with the declaration coming just 10 days to the start of the competition.
Timing, fairness and integrity
In a statement issued on Thursday 8 November, the FKF decries both the timing and the board’s sense of fairness and integrity. FKF wants a hearing and explanation for the move from CAF, under the jurisdiction of CAS, with the view of Kenya getting its place at the competition.
“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,” the statement reads partly.
FKF has also called to suspension of the tournament’s kickoff until this matter is heard and addressed appropriately and hopes at the end of it, a fair ruling will be delivered.
Stay in camp
Meanwhile, the Kenya women national team, which has been in residential camp for over a week now, remains in training as the affected parties work on the matter at hand.
“We have written to CAF expressing our displeasure with the November 7, 2018 ruling and initiated an appeal process at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with a view to having Kenya included in the tournament and/or stopping the same from commencing until the matter is heard and resolved.
“It is our belief that both CAF and CAS will treat the matter with the seriousness that it deserves, this even as Harambee Starlets remain in camp in preparation for our AWCON opening fixture against Zambia scheduled for November 18, 2018 at the Cape Coast Stadium, beginning 1830hrs local time,” the statement adds.
The bone of contention in the whole matter was FKF protest over Equatorial Guinea player Annette Jacky Messomo’s eligibility to play for the West African nation, as she is not a bona-fide citizen of the country, having lived and played all her football in Cameroon and Europe. FKF maintains that stand.