A picture taken on January 5, 2017 shows president of the Nigerian Football Federation Amaju Pinnick (R) standing beside incumbent president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Issa Hayatou (L) during the CAF African footballer of the year awards, in Abuja.  / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI caf
A picture taken on January 5, 2017 shows president of the Nigerian Football Federation Amaju Pinnick (R) standing beside incumbent president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Issa Hayatou (L) during the CAF African footballer of the year awards, in Abuja. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

By Ige Olugbenga

President of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) Issa Hayatou will face a hard challenge on Thursday as he stands for an eighth term in office when Caf  holds its congress in Addis Ababa.

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Ahmad Ahmad, head of Madagascar’s Football Association will contest Thursday’s vote and is only the third challenger Hayatou has faced since he became the football body’s president in 1988.

Ahmad is the first to have received expressions of support from among Caf member countries, including the grouping of 14 southern African countries (Cosafa).

However, the Nigerian Government through the Sport Minister has come out to give its support to Issa Hayatou to continue as the president of the body.

The 70-year-old Hayatou, who also serves as Fifa’s senior vice president, is from Cameroon and he promises continuity while Ahmad says it is time for change in the federation.

The election for Caf’s topmost position will be followed by elections for seven of the 15 places on the organisation’s executive committee.