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CAF boss dumps Chiyangwa?

by Staff reporter
17 Jan 2019 at 00:02hrs | Views
ONE-by-one, the powerful allies who propelled CAF president Ahmad Ahmad to power are either being pushed out of office or are now facing domestic boardroom uprisings to try and dislodge them from their posts.

Some are now accusing Ahmad of orchestrating a shadowy operation whose ultimate mission is to ensure a number of Southern African leaders, who were his allies just a few years ago, are ousted.

Ahmad rode on a rebellion triggered by the COSAFA leaders to take on the then CAF strongman, Issa Hayatou. He was a virtually unknown CAF executive committee backbencher when the COSAFA leaders picked him to take on Hayatou in a boardroom battle fraught with dangers.

The Cameroonian and his cronies had, in an attempt to limit challenges to the throne, come up with a clause barring those who were not on the CAF executive committee from battling for the presidency.

With Ahmad being a member of that committee, though on the periphery of power, the COSAFA bosses picked him as their surprise choice to take on the Cameroonian.

Signs that a brutal crackdown would follow, should Hayatou remain in charge of CAF, were sent out when the Cameroonian strongman stripped Madagascar of its rights to host the 2017 CAF Under-17 finals. The tournament was swiftly moved to Gabon.

Philip Chiyangwa, who was Ahmad's campaign manager, angered the CAF leadership by inviting scores of the continent's football leaders to Harare, to a belated birthday party also attended by FIFA boss Gianni Infantino.

The then ZIFA boss was threatened with sanctions — including a ban from the game — should Ahmad's challenge fail. But, when the rebellion succeeded with Hayatou being pushed out of power, the Southern African football alliance began to disintegrate over sharp differences once Ahmad took over as CAF president.

Ahmad's fierce support for Morroco's bid to host the 2026 World Cup, which was opposed in this region with Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana openly rebelling, effectively broke the alliance.

Zimbabwe and South Africa made it clear they would vote for the joint bid by the United States, Canada and Mexico to host the 2026 World Cup and this was seen as a rebellion against Ahmad's Morocco campaign and a direct challenge to his authority.

Ahmad's closest lieutenants also saw this as an attempt by the two countries to publicly humiliate him and send a message that, even though they had helped him rise to become CAF president, they remained the powers behind the throne.

And when the Moroccans suffered a humbling defeat in a one-sided battle to host the 2026 World Cup, Ahmad and his backers were left with a lot of egg on their faces. Some people had to pay a huge price, given the Moroccans had invested heavily in their failed bid, and the North Africans — powered by their massive financial clout — had become Ahmad's biggest ally and supporters.

A number of key CAF events, including symposiums and meetings, were moved to Morocco by the Ahmad leadership, to demonstrate the strong pact between the two parties, and the North African country was forgiven for turning its back on hosting the 2015 AFCON finals.

The Moroccan Football Association were presented with the CAF presidential award, for being the best run African national football governing body last year, when Mauritania — whose national side won the Team of the Year — should possibly have been worthy winners of the award. Morocco national team coach Herve Renard was named African Coach of the Year when the Atlas Lions didn't do any better than Senegal's Aliou Cisse whose side, among the five African representatives at the World Cup in Russia, came closest to reaching the second round.

And Ahmad has been hitting back amid reports he is now leading a shadowy operation in which his former regional allies, who spectacularly propelled him to power, are being pushed out or leaving them vulnerable to boardroom coups.

The CAF boss was heavily involved in the background during the elections which removed Chiyangwa from his post as ZIFA president. Ahmad and his trusted lieutenant, Walter Nyamilandu, the Malawi Football Association boss, kept exchanging notes in telephone calls on how to deal with the Zimbabwean situation.

Nyamilandu was picked by CAF as their representative at the ZIFA elections last month even though he had been an interested party in the polls, given the exchange of intelligence he kept having with Ahmad, in the countdown to the polls.

Some sources even suggest the Moroccans, still furious with the way Chiyangwa led the rebellion against their World Cup bid, were roped in to provide the funding to ensure he would be dislodged from his position as ZIFA boss. However, the correct investment towards that cause remains a subject of dispute with some claiming US$50 000 was poured into the project. Others say as much as US$100 000 was oiled into the machinery to ensure a success story was written.

After dethroning Chiyangwa, from ZIFA, the heat has now been turned on SAFA president Jordaan. The humiliation he suffered recently, when South Africa received just a single vote in its bid to host the 2019 AFCON finals compared to 16 votes for Egypt, is another attempt to expose him to an internal rebellion in his home country.

Jordaan blamed the humiliating defeat to African football politics, and he is right, but what he didn't probably mention was the real mission to try and ensure he is kicked out of his role as SAFA president. It's all part of a grand plan which also saw Jordaan somehow being humbled by Nyamilandu — Ahmad's trusted lieutenant — in the battle for a seat on the FIFA Council.

Some have long suggested that Nyamilandu's surprise success story was written with the backing of the Ahmad and his North African friends. And, now, Jordaan has been thrust back into the spotlight agains after former SAFA chief executive Leslie Sedibe tried to re-open the wounds of the controversy related to the US$10 million paid by South Africa to the Caribbean nations ahead of the 2010 World Cup finals.

Sedibe, who was banned from the game, claimed the Gupta family, a name that evokes strong emotions in South Africa, were roped in to underwrite the deal and ensure the SAFA books would not show a US$10 million deficit.

Zambian Football Association president Andrew Kamanga, whose organisation did not vote for Ahmad during the battle for the CAF presidency after Hayatou brought the CAF Under-20 Championships to that country, is also a target.

Source - the herald