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Mugabe nephew's 'palace coup' set in motion

by Staff reporter
23 Feb 2017 at 11:22hrs | Views

TWENTY-FOUR African Football Association (FA) presidents out of 54, have confirmed their availability for the belated birthday celebrations for Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) and Zifa president, Philip Chiyangwa in Harare this evening, in what has been seen as a clear vote of confidence for Confederation of African Football (Caf) presidential aspirant Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar.

Ahmad is challenging incumbent, Issa Hayatou in the March 16 election in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the Cameroonian's biggest test in his near three decades at the helm of African football.

The flamboyant Harare businessman, who recently ascended to the Cosafa presidency unopposed and is Ahmad's campaign manager, has invited all FA presidents, currently in South Africa for a football summit, to Harare today to what he has said is an event to celebrate his 58th birthday and his new post.

Among those invited for this evening's event include Fifa boss Gianni Infantino, who is believed to be against Hayatou's continued stay in power. Infantino and Fifa secretary-general Fatima Samoura have already confirmed their availability and are expected in the capital this afternoon.

Yesterday, the committee responsible for organising the event revealed that at least 24 FA presidents had confirmed they would be at the celebrations.

An aspiring president needs 28 majority votes to win the Caf throne.

The organising committee, which is led by Chamu Chiwanza, includes Caps United president, Farai Jere, Zifa vice-president, Omega Sibanda and former Zifa board member (finance) Bernard Gwarada.

"Already we have 24 FA presidents out 54, who have confirmed their availability. We have invited even the Motsepes (Patrice Motsepe) and other businesspeople from Botswana," Chiwanza said.

The wealthy Motsepe is the owner of South African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns and a very influential figure in African football.

Hayatou has already expressed reservations over today's meeting and threatened Chiyangwa with disciplinary action for allegedly trying to destabilise the continental football governing body.

However, Chiyangwa has insisted the event is a simple gathering of people close to him to celebrate his life as well as his victory in the Cosafa elections and that there is no sinister motive. He has even demanded an apology from the Caf boss.

Chiwanza yesterday reiterated the event was above board and everything was in place for a successful night, which starts at 6pm.

"Don't be fooled that this gathering is for this and that. It's not a formal Fifa, Caf or Cosafa gathering. It is a gathering of people close to Philip Chiyangwa to celebrate his birthday and his victory in Cosafa. He invited people, who are close to him. Remember, this is the man who brought Michael Jackson to Harare in 1998. This is Philip Chiyangwa for you. The whole Cosafa region has endorsed Ahmad to stand against him (Hayatou), and a number of other associations around the continent, including Nigeria, are also backing the Madagascan FA president.

Hayatou, who has been in control of African football since 1988, has received a barrage of criticism from some sections for alleged corruption.

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Source - newsday