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CAF Head Buts Gabon

By Ikeddy Isiguzo

ALHAJJ Issa Hayatou has been President of CAF since March 1988  almost 22 years ago. Some of today’s players in Angola had not been born then. Hayatou was his country’s 400m and 800m and member of the national basketball team of Cameroon at the 1st All Africa Games in Brazzaville. He was President of Cameroun Football Federation when he assumed the CAF presidency.

At 64 by August, Hayatou has spent 34.37 per cent of his life as President of CAF. He ceased being productive at the post long ago, and some of the controversies that have trailed CAF have tended to cast slurs on his leadership. Most recent example is the tardiness that attended death of Togolese team members in Angola. CAF was heartless, especially with suggestion of banning Togo in the next competition, as if the team killed its members.

Some accuse Hayatou of bias for his native Cameroun. After Gabon lost out in the head to head rule, CAF should be ashamed that it adopted a rule without thinking of the possibility of three teams being tied after the group games.

The head to head rule states that when two teams tie with the same points after group games, the team that won the encounter between them is the winner. The next considerations to resolve the ties would be goal differences, scorer of more goals, and finally toss of coin, which CAF has used twice in the African Cup of Nations (1972 and 1988).

For a straight two-team contest, head-to-head makes meaning. How can it be justly used in resolving a three-team tie as was the case in the Cameroun, Gabon, and Gambia affair? Cameroun lost to Gabon, Zambia lost to Cameroun and Gabon lost to Zambia. So who is ahead on head-to-head?

I remember the tension at the hotel meeting room in Casablanca when the toss was used to decide who went on between Cote d’Ivoire and Algeria after they had drawn on all indices for settling the second team to qualify from their group. The Nations Cup was then a tight event with only eight teams, playing in two venues.

First a toss of coin to decide which team would pick the ballot first. On the paper were written the legends deuxieme (second) and troisieme (third). Algeria picked first and won.

The matter was tidy. Many had thought that CAF would have stuck to simpler ways like to settle matters, especially now that the Nations Cup has ballooned to a 16-nation affair, meaning that almost a quarter CAF’s 52 members qualify for the competition.

CAF should cure itself of its stunning shallowness. After 22 years presiding over CAF, the only way Hayatou can lead the organisation is down!

Up Shagari MY friend Paul Bassey was around when Nigeria hosted the 1980 Nations Cup. How could he praise Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos so effusively for supporting his team? Has he forgotten President Shehu Aliyu Usman Shagari cheering the Eagles?

Shagari was at all Eagles games and his rattler so noisy that CAF discretely sent words to Nigerian authorities that the President was breaching protocol.  No African leader, maybe save Nelson Mandela in 1996, has been close to President Shagari’s performance.
Your Mail

WHY do you consistently refer to the NFF as NFA? What is the future of Nigerian sports when so-called professionals like Alhaji Sani Ndanusa take over the reins and perform worse than his novice predecessors?

Ndubuisi George, nduwuisi2000@yahoo.com
You are not the first person to notice this. The truth is that the Nigeria Football Association is what the law (Act 101, not repelled) recognises. The National Assembly cannot appropriate money to it as NFF because that is not its legal name.

However, because the likes of Sani Lulu want to be addressed as President, as the NFF status proposes, they have illegally adopted it. I keep calling the association NFA, its name.

Check out fifa.com and what you see is NFA including the logo. However, I am aware NFA has managed to smuggle NFF into cafonline, CAF website, with a fake logo. You can therefore see the mess with the NFA partially starts with an association that confuses the world about its name.

If you search for Nigeria Football Federation on the internet, it would ask whether you meant Nigeria Football Association before offering you the 2.64 million entries for NFF, courtesy of the numerous media reports that so address the association and 3.6 million entries for NFA.

Of course, there is an NFA website, but it belongs to a non-football organisation. It is really up to the NFA to clear up this mess over its name.

Alhaji Sani Ndanusa is a professional, yes professional water engineer. Being President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation forages does not make him a sports professional. We should not use words so lightly. Where does he reflect this sports professionalism? Surely not in tennis and definitely not through the unique confusion he has brought to the National Sports Commission.

A sports professional, is the Minister of Sports/Chairman of the National Sports Commission whose biggest ambition is to be the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee? Please spare me!Please email comments, condemnations, or commendations to ikeddyisiguzo@hotmail.com


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