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Vihiga Queens locked out of Cecafa Championship after Fifa ban

Kenya has once again been excluded from an international football tournament as the Fifa ban on the country continues to affect innocent players.

The latest group of players to suffer the brunt are Women Premier League champions Vihiga Queens, who have been excluded from the 2022 Cecafa Women’s Champions League.

The tournament is set to take place in Tanzania’s capital Dar es Salaam between August 13-28, 2022.

In a draw conducted in Rabat-Morocco, by Cecafa secretary general Gacheo Auka, a Kenyan, Ethiopia’s Commercial Bank, Zanzibar’s Warrior Queens, Burundi FOFILA PF and Rwanda’s AS Kigali were pooled in group ‘A’.

Group ‘B’ meanwhile consists of Simba Queens, Djibouti’s GRFC, Uganda’s SHE Corporate WFC and Yei Stars from South Sudan.

Despite their exclusion, Vihiga Queens are, coincidentally, the tournament defending champions.

The Kenyan side, who won the Kenyan league title in June, also competed in the Champions League proper last season.

The Kenyan side beat Ethiopia’s CBE in a pulsating final held at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani in November 2021, which was attended by among other Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura.

Banned Vihiga Queens also featured in the Caf Women Champions League proper in Egypt and faced top sides including South African side Mamelodi Sundows.

The exposure led to several players from Queens moving to Europe including goalkeeper Awuor Onyango who joined French side ASL Soyaux-Charente and forward Jentrix Shikangwa who transferred to Fatih Karagümrük S.K in Turkey.

Fifa has maintained a ban on Kenya since November 2021 with president Gianni Infantino accusing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government of ‘interference’ in football affairs.

This followed FKF president Nick Mwendwa’s arrest and his subsequent arraignment in court on corruption charges.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has also disbanded the federation and closed FKF’s secretariat in Nairobi.

Since the Fifa ban was announced in February 2022, both the senior men and women national teams, alongside the junior teams have been barred from competing in continental competitions.

The ban is expected to affect men league champions Tusker who have qualified for the 2022/2023 Caf Champions League.