Kenya will compete in the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 15 years, after Sierra Leone was disqualified by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Kenya’s place was confirmed on Monday after CAF disqualified Sierra Leone and annulled its results in qualifiers so far played, leaving the group with just three competitors, ensuring both Kenya and Ghana go through to the finals next year.
Third-placed Ethiopia cannot now qualify.
“Sierra Leone is disqualified from the qualifiers and all its matches are annulled,” CAF said in a statement.
Sierra Leone had played two group matches before the country’s football association was suspended by world governing body FIFA for government interference, leading to the team being barred from competition.
Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta welcomed the qualification of the Harambee Stars for the biennial continental tournament as a “game-changer” for the sport in the country.
It remains unclear who will host Africa’s premier football tournament next summer after CAF stripped defending champions Cameroon of hosting rights on Saturday, citing delays and security concerns.
Kenya last qualified for the competition in 2004.