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Cameroon name squad to face non-existent’ Harambee Stars in AFCON qualifier

Cameroon head coach Rigobert Song has named a 34-man provisional squad ahead of the first two rounds of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Kenya and Burundi in June.

The former Indomitable Lions has included new faces to the squad that qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar later after a win over Algeria.

Among the newcomers are attackers Georges-Kévin Nkoudou of B Besiktas Instanbul, plus Didier Lamkel Zé of FC Metz and Franck Mbella Etouga of Ghana’s Asante Kotoko.

Defenders Christopher Wooh of Lens and Ajaccio’s Oumar Gonzalez and Swansea City midfielder Olivier Ntcham are also among debutants with the senior national team.

A French Cameroonian, Nkoudou who previously played for Marseille and Tottenham will be able to play for Cameroon following family ties under FIFA rules as he ha never featured for French senior national team.

The world football governing body approved the change in international eligibility of former France Under-21 on Monday following a request by the Cameroon Football Federation.

Cameroon is due to receive Kenya on June 4 for the opening game of the qualifiers at the Japoma Stadium in Douala before traveling to Tanzania to face Burundi in Dar-es-Salaam on June 8 for their second Group C qualifier.

However, while the Indomitable Lions are intensifying preparations ahead of the encounter with the Harambee Stars, it is a complicated situation for Kenya whose preparation is in limbo.

Kenya’s participation in the qualifiers hangs in the balance as authorities in Nairobi have to ensure an indefinite suspension ban imposed on Kenya by Fifa is lifted.

Fifa has insisted that Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed should reopen the FKF secretariat she closed in Nairobi and allow elected officials, including general secretary Barry Otieno in office.

Things seem however to be slow between Nairobi and Zurich and Kenya risks not participating as the ban has to be lifted two weeks before their first match, that is against Cameroon on June 4 or be kicked out of the competition.

The first and second rounds of the qualifiers will span June 1 to 13 while the third and fourth round will be played in September, with the last two rounds in March next year.