South Africa have progressed to the next round of U17 Women’s World Cup qualifiers after Fifa suspended Kenya.

The Kenya national women’s team was scheduled to face Bantwana at the beginning of March but given the current suspension the East African nation is under, it means their Cosafa rivals have progressed.

“Kindly be informed that due to the suspension of FKF by Fifa, Kenya U17 Women’s team is disqualified from the African qualifiers of Fifa U-17 WWC-INDIA 2022,” a letter obtained by GOAL and signed by the Caf senior manager of women football Heba Sarwat, read.

“Consequently, matches 19 and 20 are cancelled, as well as the missions of all designated officials. On the other hand, kindly note that South Africa is automatically qualified for the next round of the competition as per the attached fixtures.”

Kenya had yet to name their squad for the qualifiers while South Africa had started their training camp already.

Head coach Siphiwe Dludlu selected her provisional squad – drawing players from the Sasol League National Championships, the Pan African Schools Football Championships, the Hollywoodbets Super League, and other girls’ tournaments held around the country – and had started camping on February 24. 

This year’s edition will be the seventh of the U17 Women’s World Cup competition and will be hosted in India after the previous one was postponed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fifa president confirmed Kenya’s suspension on Thursday, and the decision led to a reaction by some top leaders in Kenya.

“The Ministry of Sports was daring Fifa to ban Kenya. I raised fundamental concerns at the Senate. The ban could have been avoided by following due process. Impunity and big boy bullying is short-lived,” Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo tweeted.

“We told Amina Mohamed [Cabinet Secretary for Sports] that what she was doing with Kenya football was total misadventure. She would still have done the inspection within the confines of Fifa and local statutes. An indefinite ban has dire consequences on our footballers,” Kericho Senator said on his part.

The decision by the Sports CS to disband the Football Kenya Federation national executive committee – in November 2021- and appoint a caretaker committee is what led to a suspension by the world governing body.

Since then, the interim body – headed Aaron Ringera – has been running football activities in the country.