IT took 17 years and the arrival of one Philip Chiyangwa for Cosafa to finally topple long serving Caf president Issa Hayatou after two previous attempts by the bloc were met with ruthless defeat.
The Cameroonian was yesterday handed a 20-34 defeat by previously unknown Madagascar FA president Ahmad Ahmad, who, like Zifa and Cosafa president Chiyangwa, is a politician in his home country.
Previous attempts by Cosafa members to challenge Hayatou have been met with crushing defeats. First was Angola’s Armando Machado, who suffered a 4-47 defeat in 2000 before the disgraced Botswana national Ismail Bhamjee was handed a 6-46 defeat four years later.
The Cameroonian went unchallenged until 2013 when Ivorian FA president Jacques Anouma threw his hat into the ring, but there was to be no ballot after he was controversially disqualified.
CHIYANGWAHaving been at the helm of African football since 1988, Hayatou could have been badly shaken by the loss yesterday, as he also reportedly refused to entertain questions from the media when his aides walked him off the stage.
“When you try to do something, you mean that you can do it,” Ahmad told reporters after the vote. “If I can’t do it, I never stand.”An elated Chiyangwa, who was Ahmad’s campaign manager in what seemed an impossible bid to topple Hayatou, said the change in Caf leadership means a lot for Zimbabwean football and the region at large.
“I am over the moon right now, so happy that we have brought change in African football,” said Chiyangwa from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia yesterday.Caf is now the largest football confederation in the world with 55 members after the acceptance of Zanzibar as a member yesterday.
Chiyangwa, who the Hayatou regime referred to the disciplinary committee over what they said were attempts to destabilise the continental football governing body, chose the moment to send a sarcastic message.
“Now I can set up the disciplinary committee,” he quipped.