At the recent CAF presidential elections, the COSAFA region was for the first time so united and made sur e that the long-serving president Issa Hayatou was sent packing.
Despite being the biggest block in Africa, COSAFA has for a long time found it hard to lead Africa but this time around it was not to be as Ahmed Ahmed of Madagascar won hands down.
Following Ahmed’s victory the COSAFA region is now on a fighting mode and wants to not only control African football but even at world level.
Spearheaded by Zimbabwean Football Association president, Philip Chiyangwa, COSAFA has already made a resolution to propose to CAF and have two automatic qualifying slots for the World Cup starting from the 2026 one.
This is so because the 2026 World Cup teams will be increased from 32 to 48. The region feels that it has been neglected for a long time and it is about time it made strides. So far in the history of the World Cup, COSAFA has only had two representatives being South Africa and Angola.
South Africa qualified for the World Cup in 1998 and 2002 while Angola did it in 2006. It remains to be seen how the executive committee of CAF will react to the proposal. But already the proposal has been met with criticism from some local football gurus of the region.
Former development officer of FIFA, Ashford Mamelodi made it it clear that the proposal is wrong and is also sending a wrong message about COSAFA.
“The decision has not been made on the number of representatives Africa will have at 2026 World Cup and we already want to have automatic slots. Also the World Cup should not be all about regional automatic qualification but quality. The CAF president should also be careful because he is not the president of COSAFA but of CAF and his decision making should be objective,” he said.
Mamelodi also stressed that the long-serving CAF ex-president Hayatou never made favours for Cameroon or West Africa for World Cup qualifying.
“Honestly West African countries always qualify because of their standard of football and as COSAFA we should do things right and qualify on merit,” he said.
Mamelodi’s words were echoed by former Botswana Football Association’s development officer, Philemon Makgwengwe. Mahwengwe said COSAFA should show more unity in addressing administrative and technical matters of the game. He said World Cup should not be about favours but also quality.
“Brazil once lost by seven goals at the World Cup, and if we do not qualify on merit, we are going to be humiliated.
Currently look at most of the quality African players in major leagues around the world. Most of them are from West Africa and this shows you they will still dominate African football for a long time and we will chase their shadows if we do not do things the right way,” he said.