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By VINCENT OPIYO

The world football governing body Fifa on Friday suspended Sierra Leone Football Association from all activities with immediate effect due to government interference.

As a result, the federation has lost all its membership rights with its national teams and affiliated clubs no longer entitled to take part in international competitions until the suspension is lifted.

The move is likely to have a direct impact on Harambee Stars’ chances of qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) from Group “F” where the West African nation had been pooled alongside Kenya, Ghana and Ethiopia.

Kenya is second in the group with three points similar to leaders Ghana. Ethiopia, who beat Sierra Leone 1-0 on September 9, lose the points.

Ghana, who were set to play back-to-back Cup of Nations qualification matches against Sierra Leone next week, also forego the fixtures with three teams now composing the group whose top two finishers will automatically qualify for the 24-team Afcon in Cameroon.

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“This also means that neither the SLFA nor any of its members or officials may benefit from any development programmes, courses or training from Fifa or Caf. Moreover, and in accordance with article 16 paragraph 3 of the Fifa Statutes, other member associations may not entertain sporting contact with the SLFA during its suspension,” read part of the statement published on Fifa’s official website on Friday.

With this development, Kenya and Ethiopia will be the only teams involved from the group in next week’s assignments with four points sufficient to seal Stars’ return to Afcon after a 14-year hiatus.



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