How Issa Hay­a­tou’s DOWN­FALL was plot­ted in SA

Safa’s Jor­daan claims Ah­mad’s vic­tory over long­time CAF chief was or­ches­trated at Sun City

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

Issa Hay­a­tou’s down­fall was or­ches­trated in South Africa – it was dur­ing the Coun­cil of South­ern Africa Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tions (Cosafa) congress at Sun City that it was de­cided the re­gion would sup­port Ah­mad Ah­mad in his bid to oust Hay­a­tou. The meet­ing was on De­cem­ber 10–11 2016.

The 57-year-old Mada­gas­car FA chief won 34 votes to Hay­a­tou’s 20 to end the Cameroo­nian’s 29year reign and her­ald the be­gin­ning of a new era.

Upon his ar­rival from the CAF congress in Ad­dis Ababa in Ethiopia on Fri­day, an elated SA Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) pres­i­dent Danny Jor­daan claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for Hay­a­tou’s ax­ing, boast­ing the re­gion was at the fore­front of Hay­a­tou’s down­fall.

He said Cosafa’s call for a change had been speed­ily em­braced by the con­ti­nent.

“Cosafa played a tremen­dous role in sup­port­ing the drive for change, in­clud­ing hav­ing a party in Zim­babwe,” said Jor­daan on Fri­day.

He was quick to dis­miss talk that Fifa pres­i­dent Gianni In­fantino played a huge role in the elec­tions.

“I don’t think you must take away the hard work of the peo­ple on the con­ti­nent. He was not there in Sun City and, all of a sud­den, we must give him the credit,” Jor­daan said.

He said African pow­er­houses such as South Africa, Ghana and Nige­ria must play a more de­ci­sive role in de­ter­min­ing and shap­ing the fu­ture of African foot­ball.

“There was an agree­ment for change, and Morocco, Egypt and many other west African coun­tries sup­ported it. It was an African is­sue, not nec­es­sar­ily an An­glo­phone mat­ter.”

Jor­daan, who amassed 35 votes to get a seat on the ex­ec­u­tive, said the time for work had ar­rived.

“There is no time to cel­e­brate the vic­tory be­cause the hard work starts now. We must roll up our sleeves and get on with it. One of the things we are look­ing for at CAF is a more bal­anced ap­proach, where ev­ery­body must feel there is a place and space in African foot­ball,” Jor­daan said.

For­mer Safa pres­i­dent Molefi Oliphant summed it up when he said it was the end of an era.

Oliphant, who has served in the CAF ex­ec­u­tive for 15 years, said the time for change was now.

He said he had no doubt that Jor­daan’s ex­per­tise would come in handy to the foot­ball lead­er­ship on the con­ti­nent.

“He de­serves a place in the lead­er­ship and I have no doubt he will add value there,” said Oliphant, who still has two more years to serve on the ex­ec­u­tive.

Most felt that, after rul­ing the sport on the con­ti­nent since 1988, Hay­a­tou had over­stayed his wel­come and that change was nec­es­sary.

Ah­mad has his work cut out for him if he is to succeed in the hot seat.

Here are five is­sues the new lead­er­ship needs to work on:

Unity

The first thing Ah­mad needs to do is unite the war­ring fac­tions as it is clear the con­ti­nent is di­vided.

The 20 coun­tries that voted for Hay­a­tou should not feel ex­cluded be­cause of their vote.

Trans­parency

The new lead­er­ship must be trans­par­ent in their deal­ings to win the fed­er­a­tions’ con­fi­dence. Ev­ery­thing must be done above board to en­sure good gov­er­nance. Most im­por­tantly, more funds must be chan­nelled to­wards devel­op­ment, as this is the fu­ture of the sport in Africa.

World Cup spots

The new lead­er­ship must en­sure that the con­ti­nent gets at least 10 spots in the new expanded 48-team World Cup for­mat from 2026. With 55 mem­ber coun­tries (Zanz­ibar was added dur­ing this week’s congress), the con­ti­nent should have more rep­re­sen­ta­tives to nar­row the gap with Europe, which will surely get a few more spots.

CAF com­pe­ti­tions for­mat

There is a need to re­view all CAF com­pe­ti­tions and the num­ber of teams qual­i­fy­ing for tour­na­ments. It is about time the num­ber of Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fiers in­creased to at least 24, which would give coun­tries that have so far been un­able to qual­ify a chance to go to the fi­nals. Uefa has al­ready in­creased clubs to 24 for the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship, and the Fifa World Cup will have 48 from 2026.

CAF cal­en­dar

One of the thorny is­sues on the con­ti­nent has been align­ing con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tions with Fifa ones. While Fifa events (World Cup and Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup) are al­ways in June and July, CAF has al­ways in­sisted on sched­ul­ing the Africa Cup of Na­tions in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary. As a re­sult, Euro­pean-based play­ers are forced to ei­ther with­draw from their coun­tries or miss the clubs’ matches. Only a uni­form cal­en­dar could solve this club-ver­sus-coun­try is­sue.

PHOTO: TEBOGO LETSIE

HAPPY Danny Jor­daan says Cosafa mas­ter­minded Hay­a­tou’s down­fall

PHOTO: AP PHOTO

NEW BOSS Ah­mad Ah­mad won the elec­tion

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.