By John Tuerijama
FORMER Namibia Football Association (NFA) president, John Muinjo has hailed the change of guard at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) headquarters in Cairo, Egypt as a welcome development in continental football.
Long serving CAF president, Issa Hayatou lost the position to little known Ahmad Ahmad during an election held at the CAF congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last week.
Ahmad, a former government minister and current president of Madagascar’s Football Association defeated long-serving Issa Hayatou in the presidential race in Ethiopia last week.
The Madagascan became the seventh president of CAF since the organisation was established in 1957. Hayatou had been at the helm of CAF for 29 years and was seeking a re-election which would have kept him in office for at least four more years.
Ahmad, whose nomination was endorsed by southern African football block, COSAFA, is the third southern African football leader to have challenged Hayatou for the top football position. The other two, Angolan-born Armada Machado and Botswana’s Ishmael Bhamjee received bloody noses when they dared to challenge the now fallen football supremo in 2000 and 2004, respectively.
Muinjo said he was extremely overwhelmed and thrilled when he heard the news of Ahmad’s victory.
“It happened, and as you know it was all a long a difficult process because we as the so-called English speaking African countries find it very difficult to penetrate the African football because the Francophone countries dominated and backed Hayatou,” said Muinjo.
“You know, the West African countries took advantage and made it difficult for other African countries to take charge of African football as we had no say in the running of the continental football.”
“I must say the victory of Ahmad is a blessing in disguise. He was brave and I must commend him on that and now a lot of things could improve,” he observed.
However, Muinjo warned the football fraternity to be very careful and not to put too much expectation on Ahmad.
He said Ahmad was also an executive member of CAF, and thus knows very well what has to be changed now that has is given a chance to overhaul African football which has only benefited some regions on the continent.
Muinjo has called on Ahmad to look at education and training, and empower national football associations to effectively take charge of women football.
He also implored Ahmad to relook the training of referees and football administrators and addressing technical issues in football.
“One other important priority area is for Ahmad and his executive to change some laws such as the one prohibiting non-CAF executive members from contesting the portfolio of the president,” he urged.
“They must seriously relook into some of these laws because I think the presidents of the national football associations must be given the opportunity to run for CAF president. The other worrying concern is the quality of our football stadiums,” said Muinjo.
He said the quality of many stadiums in Africa is sub-standard and thus cause injuries to players.
Muinjo also touched on the CAF club championship which clubs chose not to compete in because of financial constraints. He said the new CAF executive must look at ways on how to financially assist the clubs. “Clubs don’t participate because of lack of money,” he reiterated.
As for NFA president Frans Mbidi, who vied for the CAF executive position but failed to make it, Muinjo encouraged him to continue fighting and never give up.
“I am very much happy for him although he did not go the extra mile. He must continue to fight. African football is difficult I even tried myself and never succeeded but if he looks forward he will surely get there in future,” advised Muinjo.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015