Monday, March 6, 2017

Commentary | Issa Hayatou hungers for more

Power corrupts, they say. But someone should probably do a study on this psychological disorder that appears to afflict many an African leader.

Having successfully negotiated his way round the CAF statute that bars officials from serving past 70, the Cameroonian now has the green light to seek a re-election that could see him extend his reign to 32 years, having been at the helm of African football since 1988.

That he needs a monthly trip to France for dialysis treatment (he underwent a kidney transplant in 2015) should be reason enough for him to take a break and enjoy some of that fortune he’s built over the past 28 years.

Even if he hadn’t (which is unlikely), he should be having a handsome commission off that $1 billion CAF broadcast deal that he helped sell to French media company Lagardère Sports, using his son as a proxy (the firm would later charge an arm and a leg to any country that wished to relay the tournament, which is partly why UBC couldn’t afford the service).

His most recent victory in 2013 had been won at a canter (after – reportedly – buying his way to victory). But 2017 promises to present him his toughest challenge.

Criticism and opposition appears to spring from all corners, from soccer luminaries of yesteryears like Ghana’s Abedi Pele to FAs like Nigeria, as well as regional soccer bodies like COSAFA. 

Still stuck in no man’s land is CECAFA (no surprises, there), who are yet to decide whether they either want to see the light or blindly go for "No Change".

The biggest challenge to Hayatou’s throne comes in the name of Ahmad Ahmad, the Madagascar FA boss who shows no signs of withering to his machinations.

The latest to join the "Hayatou Out" brigade is Souleiman Hassan Waberi, the Djibouti FA chief. Weberi hopes to have the rest of the CECAFA members on his side.

But FUFA’s Moses Magogo insists theirs remains a secret vote – which most definitely means he will be going with whoever greases his palm better. We can only wait and watch the space.