There is internecine war in the body of Confederation of African Football (CAF) with the erstwhile Nigerian President, Amaju Pinnick, allegedly spearheading a ‘coup de grace’ to force the longest serving Cameroonian, Issa Hayatou, out of the continental body with backing from Gianni Infantino.
Authoritative sources told when it was observed that CAF President, Issa Hayatou, was supposed to be one of the key actors that was supposed to host the Fifa President on this visit, the first to an African nation.
Hayatou’s sins included querying the Amaju Pinnick NFF for using the name of CAF in sending out a scandalous ban on five members of the Nigerian football system without express permission of the body. A move which embarrassed the continental body.
On the other hand, Hayatou who was acting Fifa President in between when former President, Joseph Sepp Blatter was sacked and when Infantino was elected to replace him, was reported not to be in favour of the emergence of the 46-year old former secretary of UEFA.
Between Pinnick and Infantino, their common enemy is Hayatou. Pinnick was offered the task to destroy by replacing Hayatou by any feasible means. Surprise choice of Infantino as Secretary General, FAtma Samoura helped the task by recruiting many of the Francophone speaking Presidents that came for the Nigerian visit.
At the last count, 17 FA presidents from other African countries had arrived in Nigeria on Saturday morning. Many of them joined their host to watch Sudan defeat the Flying Eagles 3-4 at the Teslim Balogun stadium in Lagos.
The coup plotters: The identified FA presidents who were reputedly heavily ‘supported’ include Kwesi Nyantakyi (Ghana), Lamin Kaba Bajo (The Gambia), Isha Johansen (Sierra Leone), Musa Bility (Liberia), Juneidi Basha Tilmo (Ethiopia) and Nicholas Kithuku (Kenya).
The others are Andrew Chamanga (Zambia), Philip Chiyangwa (Zimbabwe), Frans Mbidi (Namibia), Chabur Goc Alei (South Sudan), Walter Nyamilandu (Malawi), Abdiqani Said Arab (Somalia), Vincent Nzamwita (Rwanda), Moses Magogo (Uganda), Jamal Malinzi (Tanzania), Augustin Senghor (Senegal) and Souleman Waberi (Djibouti).
These leg men are to be the fulcrum for the eventual coup plot to remove Haytou. The Cameroonian too knowing the plot against him diplomatically stayed away from the visit to Nigeria. Definitely, there are some stormy days ahead of African football with these plots waiting to be implemented.
After the dinner that was organized to host Infantino, his Secretary General and their personal aides, at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja is a late night meeting where they are expected to perfect their plans for the exit of Hayatou as CAF President.
As it is, his lengthy reign as president of the Confederation of African Football must have been placed in stark, frightening perspective to be ended. As the Cameroonian has quickly learned from his rival-turned-chum (Blatter)’s sudden fall from grace, even the most despotic despots would have to relinquish power at some point, either voluntarily or, as ultimately happened in Blatter’s case, rather forcibly.
With world football finally extricating itself from the stout Swiss albatross dangling around its neck and ushering in a refreshingly new, promising era, Africa rather than be wondering is to be taught how to make the king commit regicide of be made to take the Macbeth chalice. for these folks, they are to determine in Abuja what to do with its own terminal problem: Hayatou.
The arrangement is to run a massive media campaign against the 69-year old has having considerably outlasted the current heads of all other continental football federations, with Malaysia-born David Chung— four years at the helm of the Oceania Football Confederation —coming closest.
In 1988 when Hayatou became CAF boss, Blatter wasn’t even halfway through his stint as general-secretary of Fifa. Today, it’s been 27 years since then, during which he’s done a lot to upgrade African football, directly or otherwise. The Africa Cup of Nations is no more what it used to be, at least with regard to extent of participation. From eight countries, up to 16 are now represented at every edition of the competition.

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