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MORE TROUBLE IN CAF AS GENERAL SECRETARY RESIGNS

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In less than three years since March 2017, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will be having its fourth General Secretary as the current one, Moud Haijji of Morocco sensationally resigned on Monday plunging the troubled football body into further crisis.

Sports Village Square recalls that Haijji, who was appointed on 11 April 2019 is less than a year on the saddle. He succeeded Amr Fahmy who was fired.

Sadly, Fahmy who had planned to contest the CAF presidential election next year, died a few days ago. 

Hajji’s departure after less than a year in the job was confirmed by CAF, who said he was quitting for personal reasons. He leaves amid much turbulence in the African game.

Hajji, a former Moroccan government official and a trained dentist, took over last April from Amr Fahmy, who was fired after submitting evidence to FIFA’s ethics committee of alleged misappropriation of funds by CAF president Ahmad.

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The ethics committee of soccer’s world governing body confirmed investigating the allegation but more than a year later no action has been taken against Ahmad, who was also questioned by French police last June.

Ahmad has denied any wrongdoing.

Ahmad, days after being taken in for questioning in Paris about an equipment supplier deal involving a close associate and CAF, agreed to allow FIFA to send its general secretary Fatma Samoura to Cairo for six months to help restructure the organisation and sort out its finances.

An independent review of the running of CAF by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC), seen by Reuters last month, found “potential elements of mismanagement” and “possible abuse of power” amidst concern about widespread use of cash payments.

FIFA’s Samoura restructured much of CAF, including controversially exiting a lucrative television deal which has meant that none of African football’s major matches over the last month have been shown by major broadcasters.

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However, CAF did not agree to Samoura staying on when its executive committee met in Morocco last month, which angered FIFA president Gianni Infantino according to sources close to the African soccer body.

The decision not to allow Samoura to continue came after Infantino had suggested more sweeping reforms for the African game, including a super league for Africa’s top clubs in what could be a test case for the future of other continents.

CAF has not yet approved any of Infantino’s plan and the sources close to the African organisation say Ahmad, who is also a FIFA vice president, is on a collision course with Infantino.

“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,” Hajji said in a statement.

Ahmad said Hajji’s work had been invaluable in driving the CAF reforms.

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“I would like to salute a committed, loyal and above all passionate football player, and wish him all the success he deserves in the rest of his career,” the CAF statement quoted Ahmad as saying.

PAST GENERAL SECRETARIES OF CAF

  • Mourad Fahmy, Egypt (1961 – 1982)
  • Mostapha Fahmy, Egypt  (1962 -2010)
  • Hicham El Amrani, Morocco (2010 -2017)
  • Amr Fahmy, Egypt (2017 -2019)
  • Moud Haijji Morocco (2019-2020)

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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