Cecafa ‘endorses’ incumbent Hayatou for CAF President
The Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) has thrown its weight behind incumbent Issa Hayatou in the race for the CAF Presidency only nine days to the elections in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Speaking to Citizen Digital on Tuesday evening, Cecafa Secretary General, Nicholas Musonye, said the region was throwing its weight behind a man with a proven track record over his main challenger, Ahmad Ahmad, who has no credentials to serve the continental governing body.
Musonye claimed some Cecafa members were being placed under duress to drop their support for Hayatou who is facing his sternest test to his long rule having ascended to the seat in 1988 as he bids for his eighth successive term with world body FIFA President, Gianni Infantino stating his support for Ahmad.
“We all agreed we want Hayatou. He is a man whom we have seen what he can do and where he has taken us. But some of our members are being placed under pressure to think otherwise,” Musonye charged.
He cited the disciplinary proceedings opened against 13 Cecafa nations including Kenya for playing in the 2015 Senior Challenge Cup that was not sanctioned by CAF as one of the arm twisting tactic FIFA was using to sway the region’s vote from Hayatou.
“The Senior Challenge Cup has been running for very long. Why are FIFA having a problem with it now? These are some of the things used against our members,” Musonye alleged.
Speaking over the same issue, Football Kenya Federation President, Nick Mwendwa, remained non-committal on where his vote would go when the heads of national associations gather in Ethiopia to elect the CAF leader.
“So far nothing has been sealed conclusively. I have been mandated to represent the will of football stakeholders in my country which I’m committed to.
“However, we consider goodwill and football development ideas,” Mwendwa asserted.
Other blocs in the continent including Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) and the Western African States have already declared their picks for the CAF boss in an election that appears to have torn the continent.
Ahmad is seeking to unseat the veteran Hayatou who is also a world body FIFA Vice-president and at one time, led the global organisation when disgraced Swiss President, Sepp Blatter was forced to step down.
It is seen as a battle between the established order against the new comers in global football leadership who are backed by Infantino, the middle aged Fifa boss who replaced Blatter.
The entire Cosafa vote and some of dissenting Western African States has gone to Ahmad with Cecafa and a large majority of nations neighbouring Cameroon backing Hayatou.
Powerhouse Nigeria is divided with the Sports Minister denying FA chief Ahmadou Pinnick’s assertion the country would support Ahmad.
The CAF elections will take place March 16 during 39th Ordinary General Assembly, which will also mark 60th Anniversary celebrations of African football governing body.
At the same time, Danny Jordaan, the South Africa Football Association president and his counterpart Chabur Gok Alei of South Sudan Football Association have pulled out of the race for the FIFA Council Member from the CAF region.
The duo were challenging for three available slots and their withdrawal means Almamy Kabele Camara (Guinea), Hani Abo Rida (Egypt) and Lydia Nsekera (Burundi) will sail through unopposed.
Eight other candidates, representing different interest groups, were cleared by the FIFA’s Governance Committee to have passed integrity test to contest, according to the CAF.
Former Football Association of Zambia President and retired legend Kalusha Bwalya, who was going for FIFA Council Member for the Anglophone grouping, had earlier pulled out from the race.
Leodegar Tenga (Tanzania) and Kwesi Nyantakyi (Ghana) will now battle it out for the position.
Kalusha gave way to concentrate on defending his CAF Executive Committee Member seat, following a meeting with Infantino who toured Lusaka last week.
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