President of the International Association of Sports Press (AIPS) in Africa, Mitchell Obi says CAF boss Ahmad Ahmad has not ‘really lifted African football’, as the Malagasy seeks re-election.
Obi, however, makes the point that regardless of the outcome of the investigation into the CAF boss, the Malagasy’s record in his first term is more than enough evidence that he doesn’t deserve another term.
The AIPS Africa boss pointed out Africa’s poor outing at the 2018 World Cup, the controversial 2019 CAF Champions League final between Esperance and Wydad Casablanca and a truncated TV right deal with Lagadere Sports for CAF competitions as some of the failures of Ahmad.
“Ahmad, to be fair, has not really lifted African football,” Obi said. “I remember he talked about change (during his inauguration in 2017), I was there.
“He talked about bringing the game back to the people, he talked about taking Africa far, but what did we see? An Africa that got the World Cup and no African team could get to the second round. That’s a scandal.
“The African Champions league, the showpiece club event of the continent ended in a disgrace.
“Beyond that, they played the final of the Confederation Cup the other day, how many people watched it? The exposure scene of the game on the continent is in shambles. So many individuals or organizations who have the right to get this game to the people have been forced to draw a line because the major marketer (Largadere Sports) pulled out and today we don’t know what is happening.”
Ahmad has already secured the backing of 46 out of 54 CAF Member Associations ahead of March’s election.
However, the veteran sports journalist says those backings and approvals could be inconsequential during election in Morocco next March.
“There is really nothing to it, I can come and tell you ‘I have even 50 approvals’,” the AIPS boss added. “Don’t believe anything.
“We saw so many African Federations signing MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Morocco when they were bidding for the World Cup. What happened? When it came to bid what did Morocco get? Where were even the African countries who signed MoUs with Morocco? They lost to the United States (Canada and Mexico).
“So, don’t believe in all these (approvals). Anybody can write letter, when it comes to voting, it’s a private matter – they go inside there, cast their votes and come out and start laughing at you as if they have done the needful.
“Is that not what (Issa) Hayatou did? Hayatou had even 49 votes in terms of approval going into the election [but still lost to Ahmad],” Obi added.
Ahmad is presently the sole candidate to have submitted a candidacy during the registration period, which ends on 12 November, since FIFA Council member Tarek Bouchamoui, who had wanted to run, has effectively been blocked from running by the Tunisian FA.
There is speculation bid that Nigeria FA boss and former Ahmad ally Amaju Pinnick could also throw his hat in the ring.
Pinnick has consistently refused to rule himself out of the race.