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Zimbabwe's FIFA ban lifted

Zimbabwe's players celebrate after winning the Group B Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Zimbabwe and Guinea in Yaounde on January 18, 2022.   -  
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FIFA has lifted an 18-months-long ban on the Zimbabwe Football Association, officials confirmed Monday.

The global governing body had suspended Zimbabwe in February 2022 due to government interference in the sport. 

As a result, the team missed out on playing in the African Cup of Nations preliminaries in 2023. However, they were allowed to play in the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

Following the announcement, Zimbabwe's sports authorities held a press conference in Harare. 

"We are acutely cognisant of the inconvenience, pain and frustration that the suspension from international football has elicited," the Gerald Mlotshwa, Chairperson of the Sports and Recreation Commission, said. 

"Never again should our football become a victim of unscrupulous administrators and social miscreants driven by self centeredness and egotism as has been the case over the years."

Zimbabwe were also barred from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers after failing to pay a former national coach, Brazilian Jose Claudinei Georgini.

The team can now head to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where the draw for the African qualifiers for the next World Cup will open on Thursday.

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