Editorials 18.3.2017 05:16 am

Ahmad’s appointment as Caf boss a breath of fresh air

African football's new big fish: Ahmad Ahmad. Photo: AFP.

African football's new big fish: Ahmad Ahmad. Photo: AFP.

Issa Hayatou did do some good for African football, this should not be ignored.

Finally, after almost three decades, there has been a change at the head of the table of African football, with Issa Hayatou deposed on Thursday by Ahmad Ahmad as the president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

It remains to be seen if the Malagasy Ahmad is a breath of fresh air in the corridors of power at Caf. He has talked a good game in the lead up to his election, of transparency and inclusivity, but many politicians have done that, in football and beyond, only to follow few of their words with actions.

Of no doubt, however, is that it was time for Hayatou to go – no one should be allowed such a position of power for 29 years, and especially someone whose reign was mired in controversy.

The Cameroonian did do some good for African football, this should not be ignored. Expanding the amount of African teams at a World Cup finals and bringing in valuable sponsorship, especially to Caf’s flagship tournament, the Africa Cup of Nations, are two of his notable achievements.

This was also, however, a reign mired in allegations of corruption, even if none of the swill has really stuck, with Hayatou even taking over as acting Fifa president from the disgraced Sepp Blatter in 2015.

Hayatou did admit to taking a payment of 100 000 French francs in 1995 from the now defunct marketing company ISL, a company proved to have paid a host of bribes to Fifa officials before its collapse in 2001. But he claimed the money was used to pay for Caf’s 40th Anniversary celebrations.

The elections in Addis Ababa this week, meanwhile, proved to be a surprising success for South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan, who has, at last, won himself a seat on the Caf executive committee.

Jordaan has tried and failed before to get onto the Caf executive and can hopefully now turn his attentions back to finding a new Bafana Bafana coach.

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