The CAF presidency will be decided on Thursday when elections for the next president of Africa’s soccer governing body will take place at the CAF Congress in Addis Ababa.
Current CAF president Issa Hayatou will be attempting to secure his eighth term in charge of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), while the Cameroonian will face a challenge from Madagascan government minister, Ahmad, who goes by a single name.
Since Hayatou first became president in 1988, he has only ever faced three challengers to his reign at the top of Africa’s most popular sport, with Armando Machado of Angola in 2000 and Ismail Bhamjee of Botswana in 2004 not able to stop Hayatou from continuing his CAF presidency.
In all other elections the CAF president ran unopposed, but this time around he seems to have a serious challenge on his hands, with Ahmad receiving public support from a number of key stakeholders on the African continent.
Expressions of support have been forthcoming from CAF member countries, including Nigeria and the 14 southern African countries under the banner of the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA).
The Madagascar Football Federation president is pushing a message of change, while Hayatou wants to keep the status quo.
“Basically, what we all want is a change in leadership, in the system, and in how we manage the Confederation,” Ahmad said, according to the SABC.
“We live in a time of transformation. The majority of federation presidents have changed. There are many more young people than before,” he added.
With 53 CAF member countries set to vote – Eritrea cannot vote due to the fact that they have not taken part in any recent CAF competitions – a surprise may be on the cards, as not all of those who will be supporting Ahmad will come out publicly to declare that fact.
While Ahmad is confident of support of numerous member associations, he admits that “others won’t say it publicly. I know that and I respect their position.”