A clandestine move to unseat CAF boss Issa Hayatou appears to have hit the rocks even before it had begun, it has been scooped. Last week, invitations were sent to certain key personnel in the East African region to travel to Bujumbura, Burundi.
Ostensibly it was to celebrate the elevation of the country’s football federation president Lydia Nsekera to the heights of FIFA Executive Committee.
However, things took a twist when a meeting was convened in which a representative of a football chief who is aspiring to challenge Confederation of African Football (CAF) boss Hayatou in next year’s general assembly was introduced to the gathering.
The representative, who came from Cote d’Ivoire, was sent to parley with the invitees to the ‘party’ to deliver a message from his boss on the need for change at the helm of affairs of football in Africa. Football chiefs from countries like Rwanda, Kenya, Djibouti, Namibia and Zanzibar joined their Burundi counterpart for the parley.
However, one of the delegates sparked a note of discord in the small gathering, complaining of what he termed as “a trick to engage us in a political meeting under the guise of a party”.
He frowned at the concept of the event, especially as the aspiring candidate did not deem them “worthy enough to make a personal appearance at this meeting and only sending an emissary”, which, in his words, “I find quite disrespectful”. The rebelling delegate, who has pleaded anonymity at this stage, also questioned the rationale behind Africans always seeming to live up to what people always accuse them of – a lack of honour and dignity.
Elaborating, he said
“in Libreville, most of these people got up and spoke openly of an agreement to collectively support the bid of the incumbent president to serve a final term of office in 2013, unopposed. What then has changed in that time?” he wondered.
Continuing, he said,
“even if we want to listen to voices of change, we should be talking to a face, not a representative. He should be making moves to convince us that, despite the fact that he has been an inner circle member of the same regime, why did he have to wait till this time before he felt there was need for change?”
When asked if he was sure of where his vote would be if the matter ever came up in Congress, the leading federation chief said,
“I think Hayatou has done a lot for football in Africa. For what he has done, and considering that Africa is a better place in football and has been improving, if he wants an extra term, I think we should honour him and accord him just what he wants.
“There is no way I will give support to a faceless person who in fact, does not reside on the continent that he is aspiring to lead. We should wake up and be serious in Africa. What is bad should always be regarded as bad.”