The erstwhile President’s 29-year-old tenure brought fame to the association as well as highlighted challenges to be surmounted by the new team.
It is no longer news that power has changed hands at the Confederation of African Football (CAF). As Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad fetes his entry into the prestigious football powerhouse, there would be an absolute need to take a flashback look at the association his predecessor, Issa Hayatou has left, the strides made and prevailing hitches so as to seek solutions in his “struggle for change and modernity’ which propelled him to the pinnacle.
Irrespective of his near crushing defeat, Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou has left a far better CAF than what he inherited in 1988. His works speak for him and present tasks for Ahmad Ahmad.
The 29-year-old tenure of the Cameroonian certainly had a soft spot for making Africa great at the global front. Africa today counts five teams at the final phase of each FIFA World Cup, up from two prior to the ascension of the 71-year-old Issa Hayatou to the helm of the continental football body. This alone gives room for some countries to participate at the highest level in world football. Something that would have been difficult, if not near impossible, if what prevailed before persisted. Financial gains from such participations, Africa’s football increasingly being brought to the limelight as well as some hitherto obscured players gaining global recognition and in due course clinching life-changing contracts with top professional clubs are quite visible. It would be sheer ingratitude not to credit Issa Hayatou for all these successes.
Also, Africa today boasts of four seats at the Executive Bureau of the world football governing body, FIFA, up from one in the yesteryears. Mathematically, four voices weigh more than one. Reason why the continent is no easy pushover at almost all levels in FIFA. If Africa for the first time, through South Africa, brought the world to the continent in 2010 for a World Cup, no one can deny the fact that Issa Hayatou brought his heavy weight, both as President of CAF and Vice President of FIFA, to bear. The success of the event, in which Issa Hayatou was President of the Organising Committee, brought glory to all of Africa.
Even back in the continent, the legendary biennial football bonanza, the African Nations Cup, today has 16 teams participating, up from the initial eight. Room is therefore given for more countries to showcase their football prowess. Before, nothing was known of women’s football but today, the continent has a vibrant eight-nation female competition that is drawing applause from far and near. Who says Issa Hayatou is not to be credited for all these mutations at CAF! Moving from here and bringing in the much announced ‘change and modernity’ for the overall interest of Africans and African football is thus highly awaited.
La parole aux acteurs
Ahmad Ahmad: « Il faut garder ce qui est bon »
Président de la CAF
« Ma victoire est un signe de changement, une alternance. C’est la victoire de la démocratie. Il y aura une large consultation pour tout ce qui concerne la CAF pour qu’on puisse améliorer tout ce qui ne va pas bien. Lorsqu’on remplace quelqu’un, on doit toujours être meilleur. Il faut garder ce qui est bon dans une gestion et essayer d’écouter les autres, les critiques surtout, pour tenter d’améliorer les choses. Le président Hayatou m’a offert l’opportunité d’une main tendue et je vais la saisir ».
Christian Ngah, Publisher: “A Confederation That Will Encourage Local Football”
The Guardian Post
“We hope to see an African Confederation that will encourage local football. Issa Hayatou might have done much for his long stay at the helm of CAF but he did not pay much attention to the growth of domestic football in Africa. The new CAF president should put pressure on countries and football associations to pump more money to boost their local leagues to stop young players from going abroad to seek greener pastures in Europe and the rest of the world. The new president should increase the number of teams for the AFCON. The mandate of CAF president should not be more than two terms of four years.”
Priscille Moadougou: « Le challenge est énorme »
Présidente Union des femmes reporters sportives d’Afrique-Cameroun
« C'est une CAF prospère et épanouie que laisse Issa Hayatou. Ce, au regard des nombreuses réalisations et des rendez-vous continentaux qui se sont toujours tenus ; une reformulation des compétitions continentales de clubs; sans oublier les sélections nationales et la revalorisation des primes qui vont avec. Pour le nouveau président, le challenge est énorme. Il faudra faire aussi bien qu'Issa Hayatou ou alors faire mieux que lui. Ce qui n'est sans doute pas une mince affaire. Pour cela, il faudra bien qu'il montre très vite sa particularité, afin de sortir de sentiers battus avec manière! »