Confederation of African Football – Caf – supremo Ahmad Ahmad has been at the helm of African football for 20 odd months today. The native of Malagasy cut short the long career of one of Africa’s longest serving football administrators in a rancorous election in Addis Ababa and immediately promised a breath of fresh air on the continental scene.
One and a half years down the line, we jog our memories of the memorable times and what he purposes for Africa.
Devolve powers to Regional bodies:
CAF President AhmadAhmad has vowed to devolve more powers to regional bodies in Africa to helpaccelerate the development of football on the continent.
This is in fulfilment of his promise that more powers will be ceded from the CAF headquarters to ensure the zonal unions are made more effective through organising more competitions.
Ahmad took a hands-on approach and attended the zonal meetings ofCOSAFA, CECAFA, Central Zone with the WAFU B,UNAF meetings across the continent.The Zones organised their respective U17 competitions withthe winners qualifying for the tournament to be held in Tanzania in April 2019.
The strategy is to get the regional bodies to operate more efficiently by taking charge and organising more competitions to promote development on the ground.
“As CAF, our aim is to decentralise some of the powers to the zones to ensure growth and progression because I always respect commitment,” Ahmad said.
“We don’t want too much concentration of power in one place that is why we want the zones to be empowered to improve visibility of football in Africa.”
To make sure these plans work, new statutes for the zonal bodies of CAF have been adopted to ensure that these changes are backed legally by institutionalising them.
President Ahmad explained that these new statutes aim to improve the organization and the functioning of the zones which received ringing endorsement of the zonal unions except only Cosafa Region which did not approve the statutes.
Focus on growth of Women football – Women football growth agenda is a subject at the heart of President Ahmad as he clearly defines how he wants it to grow substantially .CAF is organised a successful Women football Symposium in Marrakech Morocco to chat the way forward on how the growth will be achieved for equal benefits.
CAF Symposium was held in Rabat,Morocco in July 2017 where all stakeholders came together and a raft of important changes were made to help develop African football.
The African Women Championships(AWCON) was a success held in Ghana in the month of November 2018.
Media – In his new African football dispensation President Ahmad recognised the role played by the media in dispensation of information to the masses.His appointed panel of CAF Media Experts an initiative to help in ensuring the media is also involved in CAF matters saw the participation of media officers in all the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederations Cup matches ensuring more content was shared with fans and more media outreach with the team .
The media experts panel serve as media advisory body for the new leadership at CAF as well as doing other CAF related duties.
Financial subsidies – CAF under President Ahmad and the Exco offered financialsubsidy to each of the five teams representing the continent in the 2018 WorldCup in Russia.CAF paid Nigeria,Morocco,Senegal,Tunisia,Egypt $500,000each to help in their preparations ahead of the World cup approving the financial package that also helped to improve the technical supervision of the continents five representatives.
The move came as a huge relief and the first of such an amount in CAF’s history.
Issa Hayatou straddled the African scene like a colossus.For close to three decades, he had the continental game firmly in his grip,like a mangle. The Cameroonian brooked no competition, and had no place for dissenting voices. He took no prisoners and the few that dared question his modus operandi felt his full wrath.
Until the present Caf president appeared on the scene and belled the cat.
By his own admission President Ahmad said Caf was deeply mired in graft when he assumed the mantle, but goes on to point out that his administration is making major strides in the fight against corruption, mismanagement and ineptitude, the vices that have eaten deeply into Africa’s football fabric.” Corruption affects the whole world and is not only restricted to Africa.We are doing our bit to stamp it. We have changed many rules and some of our
staff involved in graft have been shown the exit door. There is transparency in finances”, he was quoted on the sidelines of a Caf event.
As part of his legacy, Caf aims to develop children education. For starters, a pilot project was rolled out in the Ramadan cup in Egypt. Once it gains traction it will gradually move to other African countries. The supremo says it may be slow but its his ultimate wish to include all stakeholders for capacity building and financial support. The program aims to build education centres for children across the continent, a brainchild he holds dear to his heart.
“Football can be a tool to help promote a good way of life in the continent”.
The president appears energised enough to carry through his programs and ensure inclusivity, far from the style of the man before him.While he maintains Caf should not be blamed for decisions on Afcon hosts in the wake of Cameroon being stripped as 2019 hosts in an expanded structure, Ahmad insists individual federations must step up the plate and burn the midnight oil to shoulder their responsibilities. The Confederation of African football can only do as much.Twenty months at the helm and counting, it may not be a very smooth sail but progress