Kenya ushers ‘new dawn’ as CAF elects new chief Ahmad


Ahmad Ahmad (L) of Madagascar reacts after being elected the new president of the Confederation ...
Ahmad Ahmad (L) of Madagascar reacts after being elected the new president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Addis Ababa on 16 March 2017. Madagascar's football chief Ahmad Ahmad was elected president of the Confederation of African Football today, ousting veteran leader Issa Hayatou after 29 years in office. / AFP PHOTO / Zacharias Abubker

The election of Madagascan Ahmad Ahmad as the new Confederation of African (CAF) president was met with a unanimously warm reception locally as various football leaders welcomed a ‘new dawn’ for the spot on the continent.

Ahmad, head of Madagascar’s football federation, won the election in the Ethiopian capital by 34 votes to Issa Hayatou’s 20 give African football a new leader for the first time in three decades.

The CAF 39th Ordinary General Assembly held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia heralded the departure of the last of the old generation of leaders in world football as Ahmad ousted Hayatou after 29 years in office.

Football Kenya Federation boss Nick Mwendwa who attended the Assembly was the first to react as the news broke right under his nose, as he declared the change of guard meant Kenya’s status as the hosts of the 2018 Africa Home Nations Championships (CHAN) remained safeguarded.

Mwendwa also revealed to Citizen Digital the new continental football chief made a secret visit to Kenya to convince him to vote in his favour with the cordial relationship signaling a positive future partnership.

The national team Harambee Stars First Coach Stanley Okumbi backed Ahmad’s administration to help deliver a new era of ‘modern football’ in Africa.

“He is younger and looks more vibrant so I believe he will excel. For me he is the right man for the job,” Okumbi told Citizen Digital.

While lauding the election results, Ulinzi Stars CEO Joe Birgen laid out his early expectations of the chief as he fronted an improvement in youth structures.

“The change sometimes is necessary on football for 29 years Isaa served his purposed for Africa and we hope there will be a lot of improvement from the new president because grassroots development is key for the future of African football.

“He should also help to streamline national federations and help fight corruption as it has affected many of the countries all these should be towards the growth of talent,” Birgen underscored.

Elly Kalekwa, the Sofapaka FC president said he hopes Ahmad will help raise the standards of African leagues in order to close the widening gap between the sport in the continent and that in Europe.

FKF vice president, Doris Petra acknowledged it was high time Hayatou paved way for a new face and new ideas.

“He has done his part and in my opinion he could not have defended the seat because he has done much already. I think he has done generally well in terms of ensuring constant football activity and always delivering funds for national federations.

“As for Ahmad, the bar has been set and the whole world will be expecting him to do much better than his predecessor,” Petra said.

-John Kyanda, Geoffrey Mwamburi and Mwangi Githinji contributed to this report.

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