Turfed out: Ahmad reign is over as suspended CAF chief fails election eligibility checks

By Samindra Kunti

January 8 – Ahmad Ahmad has been banned from standing for the Confederation of African football (CAF) presidential election, the African governing body confirmed on Thursday. The candidatures of both South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe and Mauritanian FA president Ahmed Yahya will undergo additional eligibility checks before they are cleared to run in the election. 

CAF greenlighted FSF president Augustin Senghor from Senegal and Ivory Coast’s Jacques Anouma for the March election following a meeting of the confederation’s governance committee in Cairo.

“Just the beginning of the path leading to the elections of March 12, 2021,” said Senghor in a statement. “Serene, focused on the objective of convincing as many federations as possible to choose me to carry the CAF of the future: united, attractive and strong.”

Last October, the Malagasy Ahmad had declared his intention to stand for re-election, but the following month FIFA finally suspended the top official after longstanding accusations of financial corruption, as well as sexual harassment. Ahmad failed to reach one full term.

The race to succeed Ahmad – and arguably leave a sordid epoch in African football in the past – shaped up quickly with a barrage of last-minute candidatures before CAF’s deadline lapsed.

Out of nowhere, Motsepe’s sudden interest in African football politics was perhaps the most surprising. The billionaire’s extensive business network could give African football a boost and lead the continent’s game potentially to a more sustainable commercial future, but Motsepe’s own motives remain shrouded in mystery. He is widely rumoured to be FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s preferred candidate in the race.

The South African didn’t offer any statement following CAF’s decision to extend his eligibility check but, like Yahya will be required to make submissions to an eligibility hearing at the end of January.

Yahya said: “My team and I will give the committee all the additional information in a constructive dialogue in the service of African football. To that end, I will reply with enthusiasm to the hearing organized in Cairo on January 28, 2021 to show the quality of our project, so as to offer African football the radiant future it deserves.”

CAF executive committee elections

The CAF electoral governance committee also released names of the candidates eligible to stand for election to the confederation’s executive committee, with three nominees to undergo further vetting. In a press release, CAF said that candidates for election to the FIFA Council would be released at a later date once CAF and FIFA had completed eligibility checks.

Candidates authorised to participate in the election for the Executive Committee:

  1. Wadie Jary (Tunisia)
  2. Mustapha Ishola Raji (Liberia)
  3. Djibrilla Hima Hamidou (Niger)
  4. Edwin Simeon- Okraku (Ghana)
  5. Adoum Djibrine (Chad)
  6. Suleiman Waberi (Djibouti)
  7. Isayas Jira (Ethiopia)
  8. Feizal Ismael Sidat (Mozambique)
  9. Elvis Raja Chetty (Seychelles)
  10. Maclean Cortez Letshwithi (Botswana)
  11. Kanizat Ibrahim (Comoros)
  12. Patricia Rajeriarison (Madagascar)
  13. Lawson Hogban-Latré-Kayti Edzona (Togo)

Nominations requiring additional verifications:

  1. Mamadou Antonio Souaré (Guinea)
  2. Seidou Mbombo Njoya (Cameroun)
  3. Arthur De Almeida E. Silva (Angola)

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1611419415labto1611419415ofdlr1611419415owedi1611419415sni@o1611419415fni1611419415