By Frederick Naduli aka Razor,
Confederation of African Football – CAF – is a house on fire, literally. From financial impropriety allegations to fraudulent deals to immunity pacts, the continental governing body is walking on thin ice.
There is smoke smouldering below the surface and it’s only a matter of when, not if, the whole place will be razed to embers. The telltale signs are too glaring to escape the eye of an ordinary layman.
Incidentally, big brother FIFA appears to play accomplice by looking the other way as the mess escalates since 2019 when they were first reported.
CAF, as well as member states, receives funds from FIFA under the program dubbed FIFA Forward.
This money is geared towards development of the game and has stringent rules attached to it before disbursement, which is rolled out in phases, and has accountability written all over it.
Any suspected misappropriation is frowned upon and according to FIFA regulations, may lead to suspension of further trickle down.
When therefore renowned audit firm Price Waterhouse Coopers – Pwc – conducted an independent 6 month audit, a 55 page exhaustive document revealed there existed discrepancies in their report. The revelations that came to light pointed to serious anomalies in CAF’s financial books that sent alarm bells ringing loud in Zurich.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino duly dispatched his secretary general Fatma Samoura to do some house keeping.
What must not be lost on keen observers is that CAF president Ahmad Ahmad, at whose desk the buck stops, is the fulcrum around which these financial scandals revolve.
Under his watch, huge sums of money were sent to fund various phantom matches across Africa, from Liberia in the west to Burundi in the east and further down to South Africa.
These transfers were never documented according to Pwc, fuelling further speculation about CAF operations vis-a-vis FIFA watchdog role.
What’s more, Ahmad has been in the spotlight before for his underhand dealings with french company Tactical Steel, deals that almost knocked him off his high perch.
The president and his inner circle at some point made a muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, a trip that does not come cheap, and murmurs abound CAF funded most if not all of the tour to Saudi Arabia.
Ironically, most of these suspect deals are carried out in liquid cash, with supporting documents remaining a coincidental mirage.
The top honchos at CAF have on occasions been found with their hand deep in the cookie jar, the president himself once having USD 340,000 in his person while his closest aide strutted around with USD 250,000.
In hindsight, CAF is a house in serious disarray. FIFA is aware of the same. Speculation however abounds whether Zurich has the will to clean up the mess in Cairo.
FIFA funds are strictly regulated and expenditure monitored, but CAF somewhat still receives money amidst all the ruckus.
Ahmad Ahmad sensed the walls may soon cave in on him, and recently got into an immunity pact with the authorities in Egypt, should the centre refuse to hold. As it is, the cat is among the pigeons.
Disclaimer:The opinion piece is solely the responsibility of the writer and Soka25east.com doest share the same sentiments.