African football is nothing without Zimbabwe: CAF boss Patrice Motsepe

Patrice Motsepe, president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), a South African, has hailed Zimbabwe’s recent re-admission into the international football system.

FIFA barred Zimbabwe from international football in 2022 because the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) interfered with the Zimbabwe Football Association’s (ZIFA) activities.

As a result, Zimbabwe did not qualify for the 2023 African Cup of Nations, which took place in Cote d’Ivoire from January 13 to February 11, 2024.

The Warriors were assigned in Group K alongside Liberia, Morocco, and South Africa before being pulled from the qualifications.

South Africa and Morocco qualified for the finals which ended on Sunday, with Bafana Bafana clinching the third spot.

The ZIFA Normalisation Committee, which was installed by FIFA, including its chairman Lincoln Mutasa attended the AFCON finals where they had a meeting with Motsepe.

Addressing reporters, Motsepe said CAF missed Zimbabwe when the country was banned from international football for 17 months. He said:

I am excited I had a meeting with the chairman of the normalisation committee (Mutasa).

We missed Zimbabwe (when the country was under suspension).

They have a good footballing legacy and we missed them. I am happy they are now back.

Motsepe expressed his admiration for Zimbabwean players some of whom played for Mamelodi Sundowns, a club that he owns.

These include Peter Ndlovu, Nyasha Mushekwi, Esrom Nyandoro, Khama Billiat, Kuda Mahachi, and Method Mwanjali. Said Motsepe:

Some of the best players have come from Zimbabwe and played for Mamelodi Sundowns.

Peter Ndlovu still works for Sundowns and I am so happy (that Zimbabwe is back to international football). We were incomplete without Zimbabwe.

I am happy that Zimbabwe is back home and football in Zimbabwe is (glorious).

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final was won by hosts Ivory Coast who came from behind to overcome Nigeria 2-1 on Sunday. The Ivorians have now won the AFCON title three times.

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