Ahmad Ahmad, Amaju Pinnick wins CAF seats in reform agenda

*Hayatou, Moucharafou lose in re-election bids

 

*Hayatou’s 29 year tenure comes to an end

Incumbent President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Issa Hayatou has been defeated by his challenger, Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar by 34-20 votes.  The 29-year reign of Issa Hayatou as  head of African football came to a stunning, dramatic and unexpected end.

Ahmad Ahmad the new and Issa Hayatou the former
Ahmad Ahmad the new and Issa Hayatou the former

Nigeria’s Amaju Pinnick defeated his Benin Republic rival, Moucharafou by 32 votes to 17. Other members of the new Executive Committee elected in the process are Hani Rida (Egypt), Omari Selemani (Democratic Republic of Congo), Kwesi Nyantakyi (Ghana), Almamy Camara (Guinea).  Lydia Nsekera (Burundi) was elected into the FIFA Council (2017 to 2021).

the seventh leader in the history of the Confederation of African Football.

As soon as the result of the presidential election at the CAF Congress in Ethiopia was announced, Ahmad’s supporters lifted their man into the air as they celebrated.

Ahmad’s camp had before the election estimated he would get between 31 and 38 votes. They rightly predicted that the new world order in football politics would lead to a landslide victory and prevail over Hayatou’s museum type of longevity.

Although, the frail and tired looking 71-year-old Cameroonian has been enmeshed in several scandals but is yet to be implicated in the ongoing corruption scandal plaguing FIFA. Hayatou is one of the last vestiges of former FIFA president, Joseph Sepp Blatter. Hayatou also loses his position as a FIFA vice-president as well as the CAF leadership.

Issa Hayatou...waving bye after 29 years reign
Issa Hayatou…waving bye after 29 years reign

With this loss, it is obvious that he paid dearly for campaigning against Infantino as FIFA president in February last year when he instead mandated his executive to back Asian football president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa. Infantino was in Adis Ababa to draw inspiration for Ahmad Ahmad who he backed to become the new Tsar of African football.

Though, the FIFA boss claims neutrality in the CAF election, there is little doubt he and his executive staff played a powerful lobbying role behind the scenes. They delivered.

The goof credits that came to Hayatou is that he secured increased number of African teams at the World Cup and bringing in extra finance.

Only twice before had he been challenged for the CAF presidency, trouncing his opponent each time. This third time was like the French Waterloo that drowned Napoleon Bonaparte.

Amaju Pinnick...elected in CAF Executive Committee
Amaju Pinnick…elected in CAF Executive Committee

Hayatou had used his opening speech to try to reassert his authority but to no avail. “As the president of CAF, who today possesses … unequalled experience and wisdom, I urge you, whatever may be your decision, to choose unity,”  he said.

But that couldn’t prevent him being massively humiliated with silky skill by an opponent who only put his name forward because no-one else on CAF’s executive committee dared take the risk.

“I am a candidate for change and the majority wants change. I’m the only one who could dare present a candidacy for change. And I’m vying to bring this change,” Ahmad announced when launching his election bid.

“Our football has been relying too much on its official course since 1957 when CAF was created. It is now high time for it to free itself and to update itself with the current situation.”

As tensions mounted and the respective factions prepared to launch a final offensive in Addis Ababa, Zimbabwe’s Philip Chiyangwa was referred to CAF’s Disciplinary Committee for defying instructions and going ahead with a meeting of federation chiefs  in what the CAF administration viewed as a deliberately provocative act designed to destabilise the confederation.

CAF took exception to Chiyangwa allegedly using a birthday party he hosted in Harare last month to drum up opposition to Hayatou. But in the end it was the Zimbabwean who had the last laugh as members of the Zimbabwe FA hoisted him triumphantly in the conference hall.

CAF is now the largest football confederation in the world with the acceptance of Zanzibar as a member. Zanibar was unanimously accepted at the ongoing CAF Congress in Addis Ababa.

The defeated CAF President, Issa Hayatou, opened the 39th Ordinary General Assembly with a speech.

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