Zambia Ready to Step in at 2021 AFCON Should FIFA Ban Zimbabwe

Zambia Ready to Step in at 2021 AFCON Should FIFA Ban Zimbabwe

Keba Mothoagae
  • Zimbabwe's possible loss could be Zambia's gain with the 2021 African Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon just days away
  • The Zimbabwean Football association is under threat of a FIFA ban should that country's government not stop interfering in football matters
  • This means that all Zimbabwean football teams at all levels would be banned from FIFA and CAF sanctioned competitions, automatically lifting Zambia into AFCON 2021

With the 2021 edition of the African Cup of Nations just days an intriguing development might let the cat loose among the pigeons in Southern African football.

The Zimbabwean Football Association is currently under the watchful eye of FIFA, which has threatened to ban the organisation from international football until further. This is due to reported political interference by the country's government in its football matters.

zimbabwe, zambia, caf, fifa, 2021 african cup of nations
Zimbabwe and Zambia in a Group H qualification match for the 2021 African Cup of Nations. Image source: Jekesai Njikizana/Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

According to, this would mean that no official Zimbabwean team at any level would be allowed to participate in any FIFA and CAF sanctioned event. This has opened the door on Zambia replacing the Warriors at Afcon 2021.

Chipolopolo, who won the 2012 edition of the tournament co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, failed to advance to the latest one. Algeria and Zimbabwe qualified ahead of the third-placed Zambia respectively in Group H, meaning that a technicality would ensure Chipolopolo replaced the Warriors if the latter were thrown out.

According to competition rules, any team that withdraws "after its qualification in the final tournament, but before its actual start, shall be replaced by the team classified next in the group.”

Zambian Football Association media officer Sidney Mungala said to BBC Sport Africa:

"We have followed keenly the development in Zimbabwe and have always remained open to being part of the Nations Cup if Zimbabwe is banned. Given the length of the time, before the tournament kicks off, we would have hoped that this matter would have been resolved by now."

Zimbabwe have been drawn in Group B, taking on Senegal, Malawi and Guinea. Should they dodge the axe, they will kick off their campaign against Senegal at the Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam on Monday, January 10.

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