CAF is shooting itself in the foot

2013-03-17 10:00

Why were Bello Bouba and Danny Jordaan not given exco positions?

Nigerian Football Federation Executive Committee member Emeka Inyama summed up the Confederation of African Football (CAF) elective conference when he said: “I really cannot understand why someone like (Bello Bouba) Maigari, the president of Nigeria FA; and Danny Jordaan of South Africa, who organised the best Fifa World Cup finals ever, should not win seats on the CAF executive committee.”

If there is one body that will go down in history as an entity that was good at shooting itself in the foot, it is the current CAF executive.

The recent CAF elections in Marrakech, Morocco, have made this organisation a laughing stock in the eyes of progressive forces.

The reasons for retaining the incompetent Issa Hayatou unchallenged for four more years defies reason.

As if that were not enough, the return of Amadou Diakité, a man who was bust in a sting operation a few years ago and was banned from all soccer activities for two years, surely calls for the heads of those running African soccer to be examined.

Such a shame would never happen in Europe, or anywhere else in the world for that matter.

But the most disappointing and shocking decision of them all was the appointment of one Ahmad Ahmand as one of the two Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) representatives on the CAF executive.

How does one explain Cosafa being run by individuals from the Indian Ocean when the mainstream soccer nations are on the mainland?

For goodness’ sake, who are Seychelles and Madagascar to control the affairs of Cosafa?

Even their offices are based here in South Africa and they were backed by local companies, Metropolitan and SAB.

Surprisingly, not a single SA Football Association (Safa) person is on the Cosafa executive, with only Sue Destombes serving as the chief operations officer.

Sense should dictate that South Africa, with its resources and expertise, should be at the forefront of both Cosafa and CAF.

If anything, the recent elections showed clearly how the rest of the continent must despise Africa’s biggest economy and its people.

Jordaan remains the best candidate to change the course of football in Africa. He has the expertise and experience to effect radical changes in the way the sport is run on the continent.

His continued snubbing has nothing to do with him as a person.

The bigger picture is that Africa has not and will not, for the foreseeable future, embrace South Africa and its people.

Yet this country hosted what Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa, called the best World Cup in the history of the game, thereby standing the continent in good stead.

Fast-forward two years, and CAF asked the same country to come to its aid and host the Africa Cup of Nations at the eleventh hour.

The outcome was the best Afcon in the history of the competition in terms of attendance and net profits.

A while back, it was the CAF Under-20 Youth Championships the country hosted at the last minute.

Could we expect the continent’s soccer bosses to come to the party and reward this country for its sacrifices?

No. Instead, what happens next is that one of the positions the country has been lobbying for was given to an unknown Malagasy.

His country has no recognised football structures and has no sporting pedigree.

And what wrong has South Africa done to Africa?

The simple answer is that it’s pure jealousy.

For Africa to achieve its economic and political renaissance, South Africa will have to play a significant role.

The same applies to football regeneration on the continent.

This country has a huge role to play in professionalising the sport and taking it to the next level and to bring it on par with football in Europe, Asia and in parts of the Americas.

There is just too much amateurism shown in the way things happen on the continent, and for Africa to continue snubbing South Africa is outrageous, to say the least.

I know people will argue South Africa has a sense of entitlement, but the honest truth is that it is the superpower on the continent and it is fair to give it due credit.

Or maybe we think we are the best when we are not, but statistics don’t lie.

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