Outgoing Caf President, Issa Hayatou/Photo: AFP
Outgoing Caf President, Issa Hayatou/Photo: AFP

By ‘Toyin Akiode

Issa Hayatou’s almost three decades reign as Caf President has come to an end as he lost in the elections that took place earlier today in Addis Ababa.

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Madagascan FA Chief, Ahmad Ahmad, is the new Head Honcho of African football. He unseated the long serving Cameroonian by 34 – 20 votes,paving the way for a long sought change and development of football in Africa.

Predominant in Africa, are a set of rulers who, aided by unmitigated sycophancy, believe that they are irreplaceable. Veiled beyond the touch of reality, they are unwittingly convinced that they possess all the answers even for the challenges starring their faces but to which they are ever impervious.

Unlike the Western World where you are judged purely on the basis of your performance and the promises you have kept; the reverse is the case in our clime where you build credibility and acceptance by dispensing favour rather than tackling the job for which you have been engaged.

Former (this sounds very exciting) Caf President, Issa Hayatou, belonged to this group of African leaders who failed to realize that institutions are bigger than the drivers and should always be protected.

Critical to the foregoing is the impartiality and credibility required to man such a sensitive post as that of Caf President. Although, Hayatou was largely untainted in the corruption scandal that swept through Fifa and engulfed many of his contemporaries in world football, the handwriting was already up on the wall that it was time to move. Unfortunately he never bothered to read!

As pointed out in our last piece on the Caf Elections, the need for freshness in African football cannot be overemphasized. Other highly advanced Federations are led by agile, young and competent individuals. Why should ours be different? The reality nowadays is that Africa has woken up from her long slumber and things are changing. The tempo must be sustained for desired positive developments to quickly materialize.

A big congratulations to the new Caf President, Ahmad Ahmad. He believed, dared and achieved. His doggedness is a testament to the fact that change is always possible when vision is combined with work.  Cautious and strategic should also be the dispositions of Ahmad. Hopefully, he will have surrounding him people that are willing to let go of the past and grasp with delight the opportunities the future portends.

At 70 years old, Hayatou has seen it all and should quietly retire and offer advice (if and when sought) to the new Caf Executive Committee. He should also be able to look back with few regrets over his lack of foresight in contesting this election!