CAF executive committee member Ahmad Ahmad said Friday he will challenge long-serving Issa Hayatou in March for the presidency of the African football body.
Cameroonian Hayatou, 70, has run CAF since succeeding Sudanese Abdel Halim Muhammad in 1988 and is seeking an eighth four-year term.
The CAF confirmed in Libreville meanwhile that Hayatou was standing for a new term through to 2021.
Ahmad, the Madagascar Football Association president, told reporters in Libreville that his candidacy had been accepted.
“My candidacy for the position of Confederation of African Football president has been approved,” he said.
Ahmad is in the Gabonese capital ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, which kicks off Saturday.
Ahmad faces a huge task to unseat Hayatou as two previous challengers — Angolan Armando Machado and Botswana’s Ismael Bhamjee — suffered humiliating defeats.
The presidential election will be held in Addis Ababa during the 60th birthday celebrations of CAF.
Officials wanting to become president of the Cairo-based body must be part of the executive committee.
Following a lead set by world governing body FIFA, CAF last year agreed that future presidents of the confederation will be restricted to a maximum of three four-year terms.
This creates the possibility of former international middle-distance runner Hayatou remaining in power until he is 83.