Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has said Cosafa’s decision to endorse Madagascar Football Association president Ahmad Ahmad for the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) presidency has not gone down well with the continental body.
This comes after CAF issued a stern warning to Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) president Phillip Chiyangwa over “a planned meeting” with other member associations which it says is “an attempt to destabilise” the governing body.
Chiyangwa, who is also president of the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa), has invited some African FA presidents to a joint victory celebration and birthday party in Harare on February 24.
But FAM president Walter Nyamilandu, who is also a Cosafa executive member, said there is more to the CAF warning than meets the eye.
“There is fear in the Hayatou camp because of Cosafa’s decision to endorse Ahmad as its presidential candidate to contest against Hayatou in the forthcoming elections,” he said.
Nyamilandu also said the gathering which Chiyangwa has organised is not necessarily a meeting, “but an invitation to his victory party [on his recent election as Cosafa president], but apparently CAF are of the view that it is aimed at campaigning for the Cosafa candidate”.
In a letter sent by CAF on behalf of Hayatou, the continental football governing body tells Chiyangwa that “you do not have any authority to convene such a meeting, without CAF knowledge nor without its required approval”.
It adds: “Convening a meeting with representatives of many member associations outside Cosafa zone is deemed to represent an attempt to destabilise CAF.
“We draw your attention to the obligation of all zonal unions to respect the authority of CAF, and not to conduct any activities that undermine the common objectives of CAF, for the benefit of African football development. The CAF Executive Committee reserves its rights to sanction any infringement to the CAF statutes.”
Asked if the development could affect the relationship between CAF and its southern African affiliate, Nyamilandu said: “Naturally this will follow, [but] the endorsement is not personalised. This is a resolution of Cosafa.”
However, according to BBC, Chiyangwa has already responded to CAF’s warning and part of his letter reads: “I was taken aback, to say the least, by the tone of your letter and the clear insinuation that such a gathering between presidents of member associations on the African continent would be considered, outrightly, as an attempt to destabilise CAF”.
He adds that CAF’s statutes “promote friendly relations between national associations, zonal unions, clubs, officials and players” and insists the meeting is for “that very objective”.
It also refers to Fifa’s statues relating to the protecting of human rights which he says include “freedom of association of member associations and zonal unions”.
Hayatou has been at the helm of African football for 29 years.
Meanwhile, according to yesterday’s edition of a Zimbabwean daily, The Herald, Fifa president Gianni Infantino is also set to travel to Zimbabwe next week “for a high-profile visit that has sent long-serving CAF boss into panic mode as the Cameroonian is cognisant of the blustery winds of change sweeping through the corridors of power in African football.”