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Ahmad ends Hayatou's 29-year reign
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 23 - 03 - 2017

Ahmad Ahmad has been elected president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for a four-year term in what was the highpoint of the 39th CAF ordinary General Assembly held at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Malagasy beat incumbent Issa Hayatou by 34 votes to 20 to assume leadership of the continent's soccer governing body till 2021. Ahmad thus becomes the sixth president and the first from southern Africa to head CAF since its creation in 1957 after the likes of Abdel-Aziz Salem (Egypt), Mohamed Abdel-Aziz Mustafa (Egypt), Mohamed Abdel-Halim (Sudan), Ydnekatchew Tessema (Ethiopia) and Hayatou (Cameroon).
In his acceptance speech, Ahmad was full of praise for the support of delegates for their confidence and giving him the mandate to rule African football.
“I want to thank this General Assembly who elected me as president. Also, thanks to my friends who worked very hard to get here,” said Ahmad, who will automatically serve as a FIFA vice president by virtue of his position as head of the continental body. He also paid tribute to his predecessor Hayatou who headed the body since 1988. “Let me also pay tribute to our president Issa Hayatou, and thank him for the good job he has done for African football.
“Henceforth, our CAF is starting a new era of history and we must all come together to take African football to enviable heights,” added an elated Ahmad, also president of the Malagasy Football Federation.
Hayatou expressed gratitude to the General Assembly for the opportunity to serve African football for nearly three decades in various capacities of which 29 years was as president for seven rounds.
“I'm very grateful to serve African football for all these years. I had a lot of good memories of African football. I congratulate the newly elected president and want to emphasise that my doors are always open to him whenever needed towards development of football on the continent,” said Hayatou.
Besides elections for the presidency, there were elections for positions onto the CAF Executive Committee and FIFA Council, also for the period from 2017-2021. However, it was the CAF Executive Committee that witnessed changes with new faces emerging and incumbents losing their places.
For the North Zone, Moroccan Fouzi Lekjaa toppled incumbent Mohamed Raouraoua of Algeria by 41 votes to seven just as Hassan Musa Bility of Liberia got the nod ahead of Malian Diakite for the West A Zone after polling 26 votes against 22 for the latter.
In the West B Zone category, Nigeria's Amaju Melvin Pinnick overcame incumbent Anjorin Moucharafou of Benin with 32 votes against 17 by the Beninois.
Chadian Adoum Djibrine retained his position as the representative of the Central Zone on the CAF Executive Committee by virtue of being the sole candidate.
The Central-East Zone slot was a four-man race and Suleiman Hassan Waberi of Djibouti won it with 20 votes.
Two places were up for grabs in the Southern Zone; Jordaan and Da Costa were elected. Isha Johansen of Sierra Leone was elected in the female category, over Lydia Nsekera of Burundi with 35 votes to 12.
With respect to the FIFA Council, Tunisian Tarek Bouchamoui won the ticket to represent the Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish group, after opponent Hani Abo Rida of Egypt withdrew.
Omari Constant Selemani of DR Congo overcame Ivorian Augustin Sidy Diallo in the Francophone category. Selemani got 35 votes against 19 for Diallo. Ghana's Kwesi Nyantakyi beat Leodegar Tenga of Tanzania in the Anglophone category after collecting 33 votes to 20. Almamy Kabele Camara of Guinea and Lydia Nsekera of Burundi were elected in the open category.
At the request of the Tanzania Football Federation, the admission of Zanzibar as a full CAF member was unanimously approved. Zanzibar thus becomes the 55th member of CAF.
Six journalists, Mostafa Bedri (Morocco), Mark Gleeson (South Africa), Joseph Gabio (Congo), Abel Mbengue (Cameroon), Philip Zickgraf (France) and Genene Mekuria (Ethiopia) were presented with the CAF Order of Merit – gold for their support towards the development of African football.
Two administrators, Hassan Hamdi, former president of Egyptian giants Ahly, and Ethiopian businessman Abennet Guebre Meskel, who doubles as chairman of local giants Saint George, were honoured.
All 54 national associations were present at the General Assembly which climaxed the 60th anniversary of the continent's governing soccer body.

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