Pressure mounts on embattled Hayatou

Issa Hayatou walks back to his seat after an address during the Extraordinary FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

HARARE – There was general consensus across the continent yesterday that Issa Hayatou has overstayed his welcome as Confederation of African Football (Caf) president.

Hayatou, who is seeking an eighth term in next month’s elections, has been the Caf president since 1988.

However, it seems Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa and his colleagues from Cosafa have touched a hornet’s nest after they openly declared support for Madagascar Football Association president Ahmad Ahmad in the forthcoming elections.

In apparent retaliation, Hayatou warned the Southern Region countries that they risk “destabilising” Caf after Chiyangwa went on to organise a meeting for a number of association heads in Harare next week.

Fifa president Gianin Infantino and a number of Fifa directors are also scheduled to attend the meeting.

According to the Zifa president, the meeting is a celebration to mark his belated birthday and his victory to the post of Cosafa president.

Football fans across the continent took to social media yesterday to throw their support behind Chiyangwa and called for Hayatou to be kicked to the curb.

“He (Hayatou) feels threatened like his 84-year-old president who wants to remain in power after 34 years. I’m Cameroonian; we performed well because of the young spirit so Hayatou you are no longer welcome even us from Cameroon are tired of you,” Dudu Danejo wrote on Facebook. Another Facebook user Soko Mukanya said: “This is a very good form of destabilisation. Let’s go for it ‘Captain Fiasco’, Hayatou is taking the African continent for granted! Infantino is on your side.”

Frank Anoh also wrote: “It’s stupid for Hayatou to seek eighth term of how many years? He is corrupt like all the (Sepp) Blatter Fifa officials. What democracy carries unlimited term?”

On Twitter, the theme for Hayatou to go was also very topical with Iregbenu Paul of Nigeria writing: “ . . . Hayatou should go please. That position is not his birthright. We have had enough of him.”Mushrukwa weighed in: “Sad dictatorship should come to an end in African football. It’s time we put new blood.”

Onward News wrote: “It’s long overdue. He’s over stayed. But they (Cosafa) should all prepare to pack their bags if he wins again.”

Frank Sande Dumbura said: “He has reached his sell-by date ages ago. Difficult to see what else he wants to do for African football besides taking it down.”

In 2015, Caf voted to change the statutes which previously stopped officials serving past the age of 70.

Hayatou, now 71, will be in charge of the Caf for the next four years if he wins next month’s elections.

Kondjashili Nakatana said: “Hayatou can barely walk yet he wants to run African football for another four years. Vote him out please. #Caf.”

Mark Kayenga Bully wrote: “Dictator, Hayatou has overstayed his welcome. Caf like Fifa needs serious reforms; corruption and regionalism are rampant. It’s for change he should know that Caf is not his farm and if his trying to follow his country’s president long stay then he is misinformed.”

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