Former Brave Warriors and football critics have lauded the ousting of long serving African football boss Issa Hayatou after he was embarrassingly defeated by 3420 by his rival Madagascar FA president Ahmad in a widely celebrated election in Addis Ababa recently.
Speaking to The Villager, Namibia’s former football sensations viewed the Hayatou ouster as a victory for football in Namibia and Southern Africa at large. “I think a big change has always been needed, Hayatou has been there or a very long time and he has been from the French Speaking countries and as you can see in terms of football development these countries are immensely far ahead of the southern, eastern and northern parts of Africa,” said ex-Brave Warriors striker Costa Khaiseb.
He also said,” This change will be a great opportunity for the Southern part of the continent; we look forward to seeing the commencing of projects in development at grassroots level and division fields. We currently have two or three in Namibia. But if you compare with the western part of Africa they got a lot because Hayatou was French speaking and he advantaged the Franco-phone countries.”
Tura Magic Coach Paulus Shipanga celebrated the end of Hayatou’s 27 year reign and speaking with The Villager he said he foresees a positive change in the football situation in Namibia and southern Africa in general with the new leadership. “I think it’s a good platform for our southern African countries, it’s a good advantage also and we are very much happy that at least now things will change,” he commented. Former football star Salomon Hey also lauded the fall of Hayatou as something which is being celebrated in the whole of the South African region while opining that the fresh CAF leadership will bring in new ideas.
Through-Pass Marketing Officer cum Coach Bebe Huseb said, “The words of Ahmad that “Everything is possible and with the right knots and strings pulled one can attain unprecedented success” best describes that supporters of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter are being axed one by one.
This has backfired on Hayatou ending his almost three decades’ rule.” He however expressed his hopes of seeing the new leadership making it possible for the Afcon to be held at the same time as the Euro citing that this will raise quotas in Euro leagues for African players. “I believe that in our country the days of our leaders are numbered too and soccer critics are working round the clock planning their downfall,” warned the Taxi Taxi FC coach.
The Council of East and Centrals Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) by no doubt had given the 70 year old strong backing while a number of National FAs in Africa had crossed their fingers on his downfall in the hopes of fresh winds of change.
Hayatou’s reign was characterised by investigations of corruption on his part and has been labelled a dictator by high sounding flamboyant Cosafa president Phillip Chiyangwa who openly rallied against his re-election. He was also reprimanded by the International Olympic Committee over funds he pocketed from the Sport marketing company ISL in 1995 which was surrounded by a heavy scandal while he insisted that the money was handed over to Caf. However, the new president Ahmad has also been implicated in the 2022 World Cup bribery involving between $30 000 to $100 000 which he is claimed to have pocketed for his vote.
With this celebrated downfall from African football, it is yet to be established whether Hayatou and Caf Secretary General Hicham El-Amrani could face trial in Egypt over a corruption case which surfaced after deals struck for the continent’ football marketing and media rights between 2008 to 2028.
Despite anomalies while he was in the steering seat of African football, Hayatou’s greatest celebrated achievement is however to bring in more African teams at the World Cup.