By KUNLE SOLAJA.
The 39th Confederation of African Football (CAF) Ordinary General Assembly reaches its crescendo and close on Thursday with election to the position of president and the executive committee as well as those to sit on the FIFA Council.
The election, which begins with the presidential, will hold at 9am in Ethiopia (7am in Nigeria, GMT +1).
This general assembly may be the most politically divisive and explosive as files and ranks have been broken onto two major political blocs. Those for the current president and those pressing for change.
The high point is the election of the CAF president as Issa Hayatou is for the first time in 29 years having a serious challenger. Contesting the position with him is Ahmad (just a single name) of Madagascar.
In all, there are no fewer than 27 candidates contesting for positions. Nigeria is making another attempt to be on the executive committee after the last two failed attempts to get Ibrahim Galadima and Aminu Maigari on board.
The current Nigeria’s candidate, Amaju Pinnick, sits on crest of wave. His success hangs on the outcome of the presidential election as those on Hayatou’s camp are strongly opposed to him.
Those not in Hayatou’s camp are his allies. They include the 14 southern African coalition of COSAFA, the five English speaking countries of West Africa, the Anglophone East Africa – Uganda and Tanzania and Egypt in North Africa. Those are the clear backers of the combined team of Amaju Pinnick and Ahmad of Madagascar.
The battle ground composes of the largely Francophone countries. Their stand remains unclear even as Hayatou comes from that bloc.
The ‘town crier’ at the Sports Village Square gathered that the plot to oust Hayatou was hatched at the last FIFA Congress in Mexico by the Anglophone countries with pockets of supports from their Francophone counterparts.
There was a speculation that Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura of Senegal was picked as the first African and woman general secretary of FIFA to break the ranks of Francophone bloc. She is believed to be saddled with the responsibility of ensuring in a new political order in CAF.
In the election, some of the contestants are defending their seats. Hayatou is one of such. He is facing Ahmad of Madagascar. Ahmad will relinquish his Southern zone seat but the other member Suketu Patel (Seychelles) will be up for re-election alongside Danny Jordaan (South Africa), Frans Mbidi (Namibia) and Rui Eduardo Da Costa (Angola).
Nigeria’s Amaju Pinnick, is contesting the West Zone B with the incumbent Moucharafou of Benin. In West Africa zone A, Liberia’s Hassan Musa Bility will be up against Amadou Diakité (Mali).
The only candidate who has won the election before the election is Chad’s Adoum Djibrine who is returning unopposed.
In the Central-East Zone executive committee seat, contesting are: Moses Magogo (Uganda), Suleiman Hassan Waberi (Djibouti), Suleiman Hassan Waberi (Djibouti) and Sudan’s Magdi Shams El Din who is the incumbent.
In North Africa zone, Anwar El Tashani (Libya) and Fouzi Lekjaa (Morocco) will be up against incumbent Mohamed Raouraoua (Algeria). Also to be contested are Africa’s seats on the FIFA Council. There is a slot for the Arabic/Portuguese/Spanish bloc, another for the English bloc while the third is for the Francophone bloc.There is a fourth seat which is open and another one for the woman category.
Hani Abo Rida (Egypt) and Tarek Bouchamoui (Tunisia) are going for the one seat in the Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish bloc while Augustin Sidy Diallo (Cote d’Ivoire) and Omari Constant Selemani (RD Congo) will be up for the one seat in the Francophone category.
Former Zambia boss Kalusha Bwalya, Kwesi Nyantakyi (Ghana) and Leodegar Tenga (Tanzania) are all eyeing the one seat in English bloc. There are four candidates; Almamy Kabele Camara (Guinea), Chabur Goc (South Sudan), Danny Jordaan (South Africa) and Lydia Nsekera (Burundi) are eying the three seats in the open category.
To balance gender, Isha Johansen (Sierra Leone) and Lydia Nsekera (Burundi) will be up for the lone female seat.
There will also be election of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Audit and Conformity Committee and that of the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the Jurisdictional Bodies of CAF.