The 39th CAF Ordinary General Assembly will be remembered as a historic gathering of the continental football body that voted out the long-time CAF president, Issa Hayatou after holding the fort for 29 years.
Former CAF Executive Committee member Ishmael Bhamjee is happy that Hayatou has been finally been kicked out of CAF.
Bhamjee predicts a better and prosperous football development ahead. He is optimistic that the new leader will bring the desired positive changes to the development of the game in the region.
“I am sure the new president will bring good and better changes for the game.
“The former CAF president was a dictator and fought to eliminate anyone who had a different view point on the administration of the game,” Bhamjee said.
According to Bhamjee, the man overstayed hence perpetual maladministration practices in the organisation.
“He stayed long and nobody should lead for a long time. A person should serve for two or three terms, not anything more than that” observed Bhamjee.
Bhamjee in 2004 tried his luck to topple Hayatou and was defeated by 46 votes to 6. “I was at one point asked to challenge CAF president by COSAFA region after it was evident that he was no longer serving the game well. During the meeting they went against my candidature during the elections and I was defeated because they feared going against him.
“Hayatou could have long retired when he was still good not to be defeated during elections. He has tarnished his reputation and the image of CAF,” Bhamjee observed.
He further noticed that at one point he changed the age limit for CAF presidency to suit his age so that he continued staying on as president. “All these things were wrong and staying long in power was not good for the organisation” observed Bhamjee.
“I expect Ahmad Ahmad’s administration to be transparent unlike the previous one which was very secretive. Hayatou did deals on his own leaving the rest outside the negotiations process.
“Broadcasting rights and sponsorship deals were only reserved for him. He did not want to engage anybody,” he revealed. Bhamjee said when he questioned some of the leadership decisions he became unpopular with the CFA president.
“I was the chairman of the Finance Committee and I was never included in discussion for sponsorships. Hayatou did not want to engage me because we differed on how things should be done. He did not want transparency,” Bhamjee said.
“CAF should produce tenders and engage two companies to broadcast matches not one company and not knowing how that company was engaged like in the current set-up,” he suggested.
He observed that countries should be given rights to broadcast games at preliminary rounds and CAF do the continental events.
”This will help member associations to raise money for their own benefit that will help them to implement their projects.
“This will also help countries to have strong resources that will enable them to retain good players in their domestic leagues,” observed Bhamjee.
On development he said: “Time has come for CAF like FIFA to have projects that will benefit member countries. FIFA gives CAF a lot of money and that money should be used to develop the game, players and infrastructural development. Africa cannot only rely on FIFA for assistance. We need CAF projects that will make the region prosper,” he said.
He said during his era as the executive member of CAF it was difficult for southern Africa (COSAFA) region to have representatives at CAF tournaments.
“We had two or three commissioners by the time and it was difficult for us to send them for AFCON. Southern and East Africa has it difficult because they could question some decisions and that made life difficult for the two regions,” observed Bhamjee.