By Paul Nicholson
March 3 – Crisis-hit Confederation of African Football (CAF) has taken another blow with the resignation of Secretary General Mouad Hajji (pictured). Haji, a close confidant and supporter of CAF president Ahmad, had only been in the post since April 2019.
Haji’s resignation comes at difficult time for CAF which is also coming to terms with the resignation of other key staff; marketing director Abdel Bah and Achta Saleh, director of legal affairs.
A CAF statement said that Haji is resigning “on personal grounds”, wanting to “return to Morocco as soon as possible”. A request that Ahmad has agreed to.
CAF’s senior staff appear to have a lot of personal issues to contend with. Both Bah and Saleh cited “family reasons” for their resignations.
In terms of senior staff CAF has also been without a Communications Director since July – when Nathalie Rabe left the organisation – while Egyptian Sheriff Elkhandem only joined at the end of January as finance director.
Ahmad will now convene an emergency committee as soon as possible to appoint an acting Secretary General, said a CAF press release.
“I would like to warmly thank President Ahmad Ahmad for giving me the opportunity to serve the football of our continent at such a level of responsibility,” said Hajji.
“The numerous reforms initiated on the sports and administrative plans since 2017 continue a project in which I believe, and which I still support. I have no doubt that the President will continue to work for the good development of the most beautiful sport possible.”
Ahmad thanked Hajji in the CAF statement, saying his “work has been invaluable in driving the reforms of the institution as of African football since his appointment. He would like to salute a committed, loyal and above all passionate football player.”
Committed and loyal to Ahmad he may have been, but the timing is awkward for Ahmad as CAF prepares to launch its new development plan for Africa in Kinshasa, DR Congo, later this week.
What should have been a triumph for the CAF president this week as he sets out a new vision for African development – following the non-renewal of FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura as the FIFA’s Delegate for Africa – will now be a week where he will be forced to face yet more questions on the running of his organisation.
It is an organisation that has still to come to terms with the forensic Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) audit that found multiple instances of the accounts under Ahmad’s term as president being “unreliable and not trustworthy”. It is a catalogue of financial misappropriation that is straight out of the FIFA play book of old, and yet Ahmad has remained in position, neither suspended or banned.
The PwC audit report found that CAF as an organisation was “understaffed”, whiles its employees were “overworked” and “demotivated”. It is now one key staff member less.
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