Yahya vents his fury over eligibility delay as he seeks to join CAF election race

By Andrew Warshaw

January 12 – Tensions are mounting ahead of the race to succeed disgraced African Football Confederation (CAF) leader Ahmad Ahmad at the helm of his continent.

Ahmad Yahya (pictured), head of the Mauritanian FA (FFRIM), has criticised CAF for failing to ratify his candidacy for the election in March, even threatening legal action.

Like one of the other candidates, South African businessman  Patrice Motsepe, Yahya was asked last week to undergo additional eligibility checks while his file is placed on hold.

Only two contenders, Senegal’s Augustin Senghor and Ivory Coast’s Jacques Anouma, have so far been rubber-stamped to take over from Ahmad who was ruled out from running for a second term following his five-year ban by FIFA for financial corruption and sexual harassment.

Yahya, a member of CAF’s Executive Committee who has  been praised by FIFA for his role in developing football in his homeland, said he had no idea why his candidacy was deemed admissible in principle yet required further checks.

Local media quoted a letter sent by Yahya, who has led FFRIM since 2011, to CAF’s acting secretary general, Abdelmounaïm Bah, in which he wrote: “I learned with indignant amazement that my application would be subject to partial validation.”

A hearing has been set for January 28 in Cairo to further examine the eligibility of both Motsepe and Yahya.

But Yahya, who was named the African continent’s best football administrator in 2017, argues that the delay is completely unfair since it hands crucial additional time to the two ratified candidates to woo voting federations.

As a result, his letter threatens CAF with “legal and administrative action” if any election rules are broken, a stark change in tone from his initial response when he promised to give  CAF’s electoral governance committee “all the additional information in a constructive dialogue in the service of African football.”

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