At the CAF congress in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar has emerged the president of Confederation of African Football (CAF), defeating long-time incumbent, Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou.
Ahmad Ahmad polled 34 votes against Issa Hayatou’s 20 votes to beat the incumbent who has refused to step aside even as the continent’s fortunes in global football dwindled under his watch.
Hayatou, in charge for nearly three decades, 29 years to be precise has often been re-elected unopposed. On the two occasions when he did face a challenge, he won with landslides amongst the electorate of presidents of Africa’s football associations.
In 2000, he beat Angola’s Armando Machado by 47-4 votes and four years later he defeated Ismail Bhamjee of Botswana by 46-6 votes.
“When you try to do something, you mean that you can do it,” Ahmad told reporters after the vote. “If I can’t do it, I never stand.”
Ahmad, a 57-year-old father of two, had a discreet playing and coaching career before he took the reins of the Madagascar football federation in 2003.
His rare and determined bid for “change” at the head of the CAF this year took many by surprise, and the incumbent was seen as the favourite.
Hayatou headed CAF since 1988 and is a senior vice president of FIFA. He has been credited with increasing the number of African teams at the World Cup and bringing in extra finance for the continent’s competitions.
CAF former presidents
Abdel Aziz Abdallah Salem (1957-1958)
Abdel Aziz Moustafa (1958-1968)
Abdel Halim Muhammad (1968-1972)
Yidnekatchew Tessema (1972-1987)
Abdel Halim Muhammad (1987-1988)
Issa Hayatou (1988-2017)
Ahmad Ahmad (2017)