Highlights of Ahmad's troubled CAF presidency

African football has been rocked not only by the firing of CAF general secretary Amr Fahmy for whistle blowing, but also a walk off in the Champions League final and the alleged assault on a referee b

When Malagasy football association president Ahmad Ahmad took over the presidency of Africa’s governing body in March 2017, he pledged to develop the game of football on the continent and reform the scandal-tainted organisation.

Two years later, Ahmad has been compelled to hand over the mandate to manage football on the continent to FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura.

Ahmad who is being investigated over corruption and sexual misconduct allegations, will also have to work with FIFA to conduct a forensic audit of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

READ MORE: FIFA takes over management of African football

In this article, we will highlight five key events that have shaped Ahmad’s time at the helm of African football;

Elected CAF president

Ahmad pulled off a major upset when he beat Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou to the presidency of CAF in Addis Ababa in 2017. Hayatou had been president of CAF for 29 years.

“When you try to do something, you mean that you can do it. If I can’t do it, I never stand,” Ahmad told journalists after garnering 34 votes against Hayatou’s 20.

The little-known official, whose Madagascar had never qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations at the time, pledged to make CAF more transparent.

The 59-year-old former football player and coach had also pledged to introduce a new code of ethics and extend ethics checks on African football officials.

Ahmad’s vision was seen to be consistent and attractive to that of newly elected FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, who was on a mission to salvage the reputation of the football governing body.

Ambitious expansion plans

In July 2017, CAF delegates approved changes to the management of football competitions including the expansion of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) from 16 to 24 teams.

Other key changes that were agreed at the two-day symposium held in Morocco included;

  • AFCON to be hosted in June-July rather than January-February.

  • CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup shifted to an August-May calendar, rather than inside a single calendar year

  • increase indemnities to referees

  • organise zonal Nations Cup qualifiers for the tournament at age-grade levels

  • improve international partnerships and relations between CAF, its member associations, national governments and the African Union

The switch from the January to the June window, was widely welcomed especially by European clubs that had long complained about the loss of African players during AFCON.

There were however some concerns over whether African nations that had struggled to host the 16-team tournament, would have the infrastructure to cope with a 24-team format.

Cameroon hosting crisis

Indeed hardly one year later, CAF triggered an AFCON organisational crisis, when it withdrew hosting rights from Cameroon, with a little over six months to the tournament (AFCON 2019).

In 2014, Cameroon, along with Ivory Coast and Guinea had been awarded hosting rights for the 2019,2021 and 2013 tournaments respectively.

CAF then sought to appease Cameroon by offering the continental football giant the AFCON 2021 hosting rights, a decision that was protested by Ivory Coast.

When the dust had settled, Egypt was selected to host AFCON 2019, while Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Guinea would host the 2021, 2023 and 2015 editions respectively.

The crisis exposed CAF’s system of awarding hosting rights, as the country associations repeatedly accused Ahmad of taking unilateral decisions.

READ MORE: Is it time for CAF to revise process of awarding AFCON hosting rights?

Botched Champions League Final

Ahmad was again in the spotlight this month when CAF revoked the African Champions League win by Esperance Tunis, that had been awarded amidst controversy over the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

Esperance, which was ordered to return the trophy, medals and prepare for a replay of the second leg against Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca, appealed the CAF decision.

Esperance officials described Ahmad as incompetent and corrupt. The replay of the match set to be hosted in neutral territory will be held after the Nations Cup.

Ahmad arrested in France

Hardly a day after CAF’s controversial decision on the African Champions League final, Ahmad was detained by authorities in France over corruption allegations.

FIFA, which confirmed the arrest of CAF’s president, said it had asked French authorities to share information that might be relevant to its own investigation taking place within its Ethics Committee.

Ahmad was eventually released by the French anti-corruption officials, without charges, but the scandal over a CAF decision to buy sportswear at inflated prices from a French company rather than directly from manufacturers, had rocked the football community in Africa.

Ahmad cedes power to FIFA

FIFA and CAF jointly announced on Thursday that the global body would take over the management of football on the continent.

FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura who is set to take over as “FIFA General Delegate for Africa”, from August this year, is tasked with improving the professionalism of the organisation and support growth and development in all African countries.

The statement added that FIFA are to also undertake a forensic audit of CAF.

Who is Ahmad Ahmad?

  • Born 30 December, 1959

  • CAF president since March 16, 2017

  • FIFA Vice-President, and member of FIFA Council since 2017

  • President of Malagasy Football Federation since 2003

  • Joined politics after a career as football player and coach

  • Served as Secretary of State for Sports, Fisheries minister and Senate vice-president

South Africa beat Argentina in friendly at Pretoria

South Africa have an embarrassment of riches on the right wing with Nkosi and Cheslin Kolbe, who was rested for this match, bidding to start against New Zealand in Japan on September 21 in their World

Sibusiso Nkosi scored two brilliant tries as South Africa beat Argentina 24-18 on Saturday in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match in Pretoria.

The winger struck in each half for the Springboks, who found the going much tougher than last weekend when they hammered the Pumas by 33 points in Salta to win the Rugby Championship.

South Africa have an embarrassment of riches on the right wing with Nkosi and Cheslin Kolbe, who was rested for this match, bidding to start against New Zealand in Japan on September 21 in their World Cup opener.

All the other South African points at Loftus Versfeld came from fly-half Elton Jantjies, who kicked a conversion and four penalties.

Forwards Guido Petti and skipper Pablo Matera each scored a try for Argentina. Joaquin Diaz Bonilla kicked a conversion and a penalty and Benjamin Urdapilleta a penalty.

South Africa skipper and flanker Siya Kolisi showed no ill effects from a knee injury sustained last May before coming off after 53 minutes of his first international appearance this season.

Coach Rassie Erasmus wanted Kolisi to concentrate on his personal performance so he did not restore the captaincy. Instead veteran hooker Schalk Brits became, at 38 the second oldest Springbok to lead the team.

Although Argentina suffered a ninth consecutive loss, there was encouragement for coach Mario Ledesma from a much improved scrummaging performance, that won several penalties.

The Pumas thought they had taken the lead with three minutes left when debutant Lucas Mensa touched down, but the try was disallowed for obstruction by fellow centre Jeronimo de la Fuente.

South Africa started with an entirely different team from the one that crushed Argentina 46-13 last weekend in Salta to win the Rugby Championship for the first time. Argentina made 10 changes after being humiliated at home.

Springboks flanker Marcell Coetzee was off on 17 minutes and could not return after failing a head injury assessment test.

South Africa dominated territory and possession, but had to wait 20 minutes before being rewarded when Jantjies kicked a 22-metre penalty from in front of the posts.

Argentina had their first scoring chance seven minutes later. Diaz Bonilla succeeded with a more difficult penalty kick than that of Jantjies.

A stop-start half was crying out for a try. It finally arrived on 32 minutes when slick handling allowed Nkosi to step inside one opponent before holding off two others to score.

Jantjies struck a post with his conversion attempt leaving South Africa with an 8-3 advantage that did not adequately reflect their superiority.

That lead evaporated in additional time at the end of the half when Petti intercepted a pass from scrum-half Cobus Reinach and, showing amazing pace for a lock, scored between the posts.

Bonilla converted and the Pumas led 10-8 at the break despite being on the back foot for much of the opening 40 minutes.

The highlight of the second half was the second Nkosi try on 48 minutes, which gave the Springboks a lead they never surrendered.

Seemingly hemmed in, he beat three Pumas and then dived over Sebastian Cancelliere to raise his Test try tally to seven since debuting last season.

FIFA bans former Nigeria coach Samson Siasia for life following a match fixing probe

The case is the latest to emerge from FIFA’s long-running investigation into the activities of Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, who FIFA has called a « known match fixer » and who has admitted such activ

Former Nigeria national team coach Samson Siasia has been banned from the game for life following a match-fixing probe by world governing body FIFA.

FIFA said in a statement on Friday (August 16) that the adjudicatory chamber of their independent Ethics Committee found that Siasia was “guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”

The 51-year-old Siasia played 51 times as a striker for the Nigerian national team and later coached various national youth sides before a spell as senior coach in 2016.

The case is the latest to emerge from FIFA’s long-running investigation into the activities of Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, who FIFA has called a “known match fixer” and who has admitted such activity in several interviews.

FIFA said that he was banned for life “from all football-related activities that is administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.”

Siasia has also been fined $51,000.

Ethiopia U-15 make history with CECAFA tourney in Eritrea

Whiles it will be the first major tournament Eritrea will be hosting, there is history being made by the Ethiopian lads in town for the competition.

Eritrea is hosting ten other countries for the Council for East and Central African Football Associations, CECAFA, under 15 championships.

The tournament kicked off today, August 16 and is expected to end in early September. Whiles it will be the first major tournament Eritrea will be hosting, there is history being made by the Ethiopian lads in town for the competition.

They will be the first Ethiopian team to play in Asmara in over two decades. They get the feat after a friendly match planned for Asmara between the two senior sides failed to hold last year.

There are three groups from the draw that was held in Asmara earlier this month.Most of the teams are neighbours of Eritrea along with the East African sides like Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.

According to CECAFA General Secretary, Nicholas Musonye, the aim of the tournament is to develop talents at the grassroot level which is the basic stage in the development of a player.

The result of draw is as follows:

Group A – Eritrea, Kenya, Burundi, Somalia

Group B – Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan

Group C – Tanzania, Sudan, Djibouti 0

International friendly: Nigeria squad against Ukraine announced

Copyright -AFCON 2019: Nigeria
Nigeria have revealed their squad for the international friendly against Ukraine in Dnipro Arena on Tuesday,September 10th,2019. In fact, midfielder John Ogu and goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi were among the 23 players called up by Gernot Rohr for the Super Eagles’ international friendly with the National Team of Ukraine. Coach Gernot Rohr is also without retired Nigerian stars John Obi Mikel and Odion Ighalo, however Maduka Okoyer Fortuna Dusseldorf goalkeeper, and Joe Aribo, Glasgow Rangers midfielder, were called up by the coach. Tyronne Ebuehi, who missed the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt due to injury, has been recalled by boss Rohr after recovery. Nigeria squad: Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC), Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany) Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy), Tyronne Ebuehi (FC Benfica, Portugal), Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal), William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy), Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England), Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain), Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany), Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (Rotherham United, England) Midfielders: Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England), Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England), Joe Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland) Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassar FC, Saudi Arabia), Victor Osimhen (Lille OSC, France), Moses Simon (Levante FC, Spain), Henry Onyekuru (AS Monaco, France), Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France), Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjyland, Denmark), Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain)

Sundowns Coach Pitso takes the blame for dropped points

Sundowns-Chippa Copyright -Sundowns via Twitter
Following the 1-1 draw between Mamelodi Sundowns and Chippa United in their Absa Premiership tie at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday, Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has declared that he takes the full responsibility for losing the two points. Indeed, Pitso revealed that dropping two points is a great disappointment to the team and that his mistakes were the reason for the draw, especially when he chose to bring on attacker Phakamani Mahlambi. “Obviously we are disappointed because I think we dropped two points. I think it was my fault, I should have sealed the game in the last three minutes, we should have used experience like we usually do it. But I opted to go in the last three minutes for Phakamani as an attacker, instead of maybe doing a sub that will keep the result,” Pitso Mosimane said. “It’s two points gone, but I guess maybe the game led me and deceived me because I could see we can score the second goal, but forgetting there’s two three minutes to go. We became a little bit greedy. Against SuperSport we scored a little bit late, so we thought maybe we could steal it like that. But it’s okay, lessons learnt. The game always teaches me and humbles me.”