MADAGASCAR Football Association chief Ahmad yesterday dealt a heavy brow to the 29-year reign of out-going president of Confederation of African Football, Alhaji Issa Hayatou when he beat him to the top most post of the African Football governing body.
Ahmad won 34 of the 54 votes in the election, which was held in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa yesterday, Thursday, 16, 2017.
The result means a change in leadership for the first time since Cameroonian Hayatou took charge the reign of Africa Football governing body in 1988.
The newly elected President, who appeared very emotional, on the day of the election becomes the seventh president in the Confederation 60-year history.
The electoral result was greeted by cheers at the CAF congress as Ahmad was carried on the shoulders of jubilant supporters to the podium after the result was announced.
In contrast, Hayatou was led from the auditorium by aides but he told reporters as he departed: “It is not that bad.”
The 57-year-old Ahmad, who goes by a single name, said: “When you try to do something, you mean that you can do it. If I can’t do it, I never stand.
“This is sweet victory. When you work hard for years and months and you succeed, that is great.”
Ahmad, who became Madagascar FA chief in 2003, takes over as CAF president on an initial four-year term, has promised to modernise the body and make it more transparent.
His first job, he said earlier on Thursday, would be to introduce a new code of ethics and he has also pledged to extend ethics checks on African football officials.
The departure of Hayatou is a huge change for African football and the 70-year-old will also lose his FIFA position and his place on the ruling council of world football’s governing body.
He had been challenged for the CAF presidency only twice before and both times won with landslide victories.
This time he won only 20 votes, ending his hopes of winning an eighth term in office that would have seen his presidency extend for more than three decades in total.
By Franklin Asare-Donkoh