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Issa Hayatou calls for 'unity' ahead of vote

21 March 2017

African soccer officials will vote in tomorrow's election, which pits Madagascar's Ahmad Ahmad against 29-year incumbent Issa Hayatou, who also serves as FIFA's senior vice president.

The Senate President also commended the outgoing President, Mr. Issa Hayatou, for huge contribution to the development of African football in Africa in the past 29 years.

Hayatou has comfortably won previous polls since succeeding the late Sudanese Abdel Halim Muhammad.

A little-known official from Madagascar toppled African soccer head Issa Hayatou, ending nearly 30 years of rule as the world's most-popular sport continues to deal with the fallout of corruption probes into its management.

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Ahmad (54) is elected as the organisation celebrates 60 years in existence. The second step is to develop African football. The sport however has been riddled with corruption and maladministration over the last few years.

Not until Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar came out to challenge Issa Hayatou, many did not know that he is a CAF Executive Committee member because he was a silent member. Hayatou admitted receiving the money but has always said it was not a corrupt payment and that he used it to pay for a celebration of Caf's 40 year anniversary in 1997.

Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino was seen as a strong influence as he had made no bones about his support for change.

Cameroon's Hayatou remains the favourite after 29 years in office, but his challenger Ahmad Ahmad, head of the Madagascar Football Association, has picked up support with his calls for "change". Tanzania's federation also previously made a request to CAF that Zanzibar be accepted.

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Footballers could also compete on the Tanzanian national team, he said.

Ex-Safa president Oliphant‚ who had been co-opted to the Caf exco by Hayatou‚ could be one of the victims of the change the new president is expected to produce in the coming months.

Aside from Hayatou, there was little change in Africa's other places on the FIFA Council: Tarek Bouchamaoui (Tunisia), Almamy Camara (Guinea), Lydia Nsekera (Burundi), Kwesi Nyantakyi (Ghana) and Constant Omari (Congo) retained their seats.

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Issa Hayatou calls for 'unity' ahead of vote