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How we got rid of Hayatou - Chiyangwa

by Staff reporter
15 Apr 2017 at 13:33hrs | Views

The process of Ahmad Ahmad breaking the reign of 28-year predecessor Issa Hayatou for the Confederation of African Football (Caf) presidency might make for a fascinating book one day.

By the manner in which Cosafa (the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations) president Phillip Chiyangwa describes it‚ this might have the intrigue of a spy novel.

Cosafa‚ with the overthrow at their elections in Sun City in December of Hayatou ally Suketu Patel‚ began and were central to an effective palace coup of a seemingly immovable Caf president.

Chiyangwa‚ as Ahmad's campaign manager‚ said he travelled the continent and the world ensuring the process that would lead to the former Madagascar sports minister's election went smoothly.

"In the (Cosafa) AGM at Sun City‚ we agreed prior to that election who was going to be the executive‚" the charismatic Chiyangwa said.

"I would be president‚ who would be the vice-president; some members would be the exco.

"That's the approach we took on this Caf campaign. As Cosafa we could not miss this chance.

"Mr Hayatou and his team had engineered a constitutional resolution that there would be no challenge to him from outside the executive committee of 17. Those (people) were handpicked‚ most of them‚ with very few FA presidents.

"That inhibited any challenge from anybody.

"When you look at the Fifa statutes‚ even I can challenge for the Fifa presidency. (Gianni) Infantino‚ the new president‚ came from Uefa as their secretary-general.

"That sort of position is what‚ in our next AGM‚ we will adopt for Caf.

"The reason why we have Ahmad is because Ahmad went into Caf‚ fighting his way in. He was not an 'Issa man'.

"Coming out of Cosafa‚ we felt honoured that people from other regions approached us and him to say‚ 'Can he stand‚ if we back him up'."

Chiyangwa said Ahmad's camp knew from their campaigning that they would overthrow Hayatou.

"By the time we seized power we knew our opportunity had been consolidated. There had been meetings in Mexico and other places where we talked about this.

"Finally the opportunity was there to remove first the Cosafa executive‚ and then put our best person to run for the Caf presidency.

"Then take on other executive members out of Africa (who) also did not qualify to challenge Issa‚ because of that constitutional point.

"You then had a team of people who were able to come together and pool their resources. Someone from Morocco is in (the Caf exco)‚ someone from Tunisia is in‚ someone from DRC‚ Ghana‚ Liberia‚ Sierra Leone‚ South Africa.

"But these people also have certain people who support them. And when you then put that together‚ the collection of that support gave us those numbers.

"(Being elected to Caf's exco) Danny Jordaan got 35 votes‚ Ahmad 34‚ Constant Omari from DRC 35.

"But these are the numbers we had already spoken about. Because this is something I was doing‚ checking with the candidates‚ auditing information they gave me‚ cross-checking it with the individual FA presidents‚ and seeing whether that number was correct.

Cosafa talked tough on breaking West African stronghold on Caf after Hayatou's defeat

"Even at my birthday party we did mention the number 35. And that's what we got.

"That's how this culminated in what we have today — Ahmad."

Chiyangwa's birthday party in Harare on February 23 was attended by 24 African FA presidents‚ and was where Ahmad's challenge on Hayatou was consolidated‚ less than a month before Caf's congress in Addis Ababa‚ Ethiopia in mid-March.

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