Final four-year term for CAF boss Hayatou
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Cameroonian strongman Issa Hayatou will be re-elected unopposed in Morocco on Sunday for a final four-year term as Confederation of African Football (CAF) president.
The 66-year-old, voted into power during the 1988 Cup of Nations in the north African kingdom, told reporters last month that this would be last period as boss of the 54-state organisation.
His decision to carry on took some observers by surprise with World Soccer magazine reporting that he is suffering from kidney failure that requires dialysis every second day.
Ivorian Jacques Anouma, one of four Africans on the executive committee of world governing body FIFA, wanted to oppose Hayatou at the CAF congress in Marrakech, but a change to the election rules disqualified him.
Anouma and the Ivorian and Liberian football associations made four appeals to the Switzerland-based Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) in an effort to overturn the ruling, but it backed CAF each time.
The 60-year-old Ivorian believes Hayatou was behind a successful Algerian proposal at a special congress in the Seychelles last year to amend the rules and restrict the CAF presidency to voting members of the executive committee.
Although permitted to attend CAF executive meetings, Anouma cannot vote because he is not an elected member, and the 44-6 verdict in favour of the change suggests he would have suffered a heavy election defeat by Hayatou.
The Cameroonian has been challenged twice during his lengthy reign and both opponents, Armando Machedo of Angola and Ismail Bhamjee of Botswana, suffered humiliating losses.
“It is a scandalous manoeuvre which belongs to a past era,” complained Anouma. “Our continent deserves a confederation that is truly democratic, transparent and ready to face the real challenges.”
But there has been no shortage of support for Hayatou, the son of a sultan from northern cotton city Garoua who represented Cameroon at basketball and middle-distance running.
“Hayatou has offered a new platform for African football with innovative competitions like the African Nations Championship and we unanimously renewed our trust in his leadership,” said central Africa region boss Iya Mohammed.
West Africa region official Jammeh Bojang said: “We pledge our continuous support for Hayatou to lead African football. The game has seen many changes in development and we are solidly behind his stay in office.”
Hayatou is the fifth CAF president and by far the longest serving ahead of Ethiopian Ydnekatchew Tessema (15 years), Egyptian Abdel Aziz Moustafa (10), Sudanese Abdel Halim Mohammad (5) and Egyptian Abdel Aziz Abdallah Salem (1).
Apart from crowning Hayatou, there will be elections for four executive committee positions while Algerian Mohamed Raouraoua (North) and Sudanese Magdi Sham El Din (Centre-East) return unopposed.
Former South African politician Danny Jordaan, one of the officials credited with a successful 2010 World Cup in his country, is among six challengers for two South seats.
CAF vice-president Suketu Patel from the Seychelles is expected to top the polling with Jordaan set to finish second ahead of officials from Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland.
Among four candidates for a West A seat is Malian Amadou Diakite, banned by FIFA for two years in 2010 over alleged bribery in the vote-buying scandal around the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting.
The draw for the Cup of Nations qualifying competition — home-and-away preliminary ties this year and a six-round group phase next year — is also scheduled for this weekend with Morocco exempt as 2015 hosts.