Exclusive: Lekjaa says CAF has cash and that no decision has been made on Samoura staying

By Osasu Obayiuwana

January 14 – Fouzi Lekjaa, second Vice-President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), has told Insideworldfootball that the organisation has a minimum bank balance of $100 million and is far from broke, as has been alleged in recently months.

“We have that much in the account,” said Lekjaa, who is also the chairman of CAF’s Finance Committee.

“It could even be up to $110 million. But I have to check to give you the exact figure,” said Lekjaa, during an exclusive interview with Insideworldfootball in Rabat, Morocco’s capital.

“There is no doubt that we need to raise a lot more money for CAF, because there are a lot of activities for which we need to spend money. If we don’t improve our financial management and marketing of our activities, we will not be able to improve the quality of our competitions.”

“We need to act with a faster, quicker pace to improve African football. There is a lot of work to do, to make our game better.”

Following a string of allegations, regarding financial mismanagement within the organisation, CAF is expected to carry out a forensic audit, under the supervision of FIFA, world football’s governing body.

It is not known if the audit has been carried out or when it will begin.

Regarding whether the six-month stay of Fatma Samoura, as FIFA’s General Delegate to Africa, will be extended beyond January 31, Lekjaa could not give a definite answer.

“We expect to take a decision on this matter at the end of January or the very beginning of February. During the CAF awards in Hurghada, President Ahmad had already started talking to some of us, asking for our opinions on when we should discuss this matter…”

“But whether Samoura stays or not, CAF needs to be in partnership with FIFA to develop football on the continent.”

The CAF executive committee will be meeting in Yaounde, Cameroon, on Wednesday, where it is expected that a decision will be taken, to reschedule the tournament date for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, which is to be staged in the central African country.

It is expected to revert to the January/February time slot, as opposed to the newly established June/July period, which was the period within which the 2019 tournament in Egypt was organised.

The 2023 and 2025 tournaments, to take place in Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea, are certain to be played during the January/February period as well, as both countries share the same weather conditions as Cameroon.

Osasu Obayiuwana’s 90-minute interview with Lekjaa, talking about CAF’s controversial decision to break its contract with Lagardere Sport, his alleged assault of Ethiopian Referee Bamlak Tessema, the real state of CAF’s finances, as well as a much-touted 2021 CAF Presidential bid, will be published on these pages, in the coming days.   

Contact Osasu at moc.l1603664292labto1603664292ofdlr1603664292owedi1603664292sni@a1603664292nawui1603664292yabo.1603664292usaso1603664292