Safa CEO Tebogo Motlanthe. Picture: LEE WARREN/GALLO IMAGES
Safa CEO Tebogo Motlanthe. Picture: LEE WARREN/GALLO IMAGES

The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) being warned by soccer governing body Fifa of a possible ban does not presents a backdoor opportunity for Bafana Bafana to enter the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in 2022.

Fifa this week warned Zimbabwe that the country’s national team may face a ban unless Zifa’s elected leadership regains control. , The warning comes ahead of Afcon in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6. 

Bafana finished third in their qualifying Group C behind qualifiers Ghana and Sudan. SA’s placing as the best third-positioned finisher in all 12 groups on 10 points sparked speculation, especially on social media, that if Zimbabwe were removed from the Covid-19-delayed 2021 Afcon, Bafana might have a chance of taking their place.

However, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) ruling is that should a team withdraw between qualifying for the Nations Cup and the start of the tournament, rather than being replaced, their four-team group in the finals tournament is reduced to three.

Safa CEO Tebogo Motlanthe confirmed that, even in the event Zimbabwe do not manage to resolve their issues and are banned, that would not mean Bafana’s entry to Cameroon 2021.

“First of all I would say don’t get ahead of yourself because Zimbabwe might still resolve their issues,” Motlanthe said.

“But, yes, you are reading the rule correctly, so even if Zimbabwe were banned there would be no path for Bafana to still qualify.

“I think people were just getting excited because Caf sometimes has the format in qualifying where the best runner-up or third-place team sometimes can qualify.”

Fifa’s warning to Zimbabwe came after the Zifa board was suspended by the country’s sports and recreation commission, a body tasked by the government to develop sport in the country.

Fifa disapproves of government interference in the administration of member associations and has banned countries from football over that issue in the past.

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