NEYMAR
has been backed by
Cafu to surpass Pele’s Brazil
goalscoring record.
The Barcelona forward has
netted 50 times for his country
and Pele, Ronaldo and Romario
are the only players ahead of him.
Selecao legend Pele has 77 goals
but Cafu believes Neymar can
beat the record because of his age
and talent.
Cafu told FIFA: “All records
exist only to be beaten. Of course,
Neymar has got it in him.
“He’s young and has time on
his side. If he continues playing
as he is now, then there is every
possibility he will [overtake
Pele].”
Neymar has netted four times
in his last five matches and
helped the football-mad nation to
an Olympic Gold medal in 2016.
Brazil’s all-time appearance
record holder Cafu believes it will
be harder for Neymar to top him.
On his own record of 142
caps, Cafu added: “I think this is
understandable because no one
has played for Brazil over such
a long period of time as me – 16
years!
“It is purely down to strength of
will, my devotion to football and
the effort I put in during all this
time.

IT’S TIME
we introduce a new
regime,” says Liberian Football
Association president Musa Bility
ahead of what has been described as
the most important Confederation of
African Football elections for almost
three decades.
African football goes to the polls
on Thursday to choose a new CAF
president and for the first time since
he came to power in 1988, incumbent
Issa Hayatou faces a serious
challenge.
Only twice before has the
Cameroonian run against another
candidate and he swept aside both
with ease: Angola’s Armando
Machado in 2000 (by 47 votes to 4)
and Ismail Bhamjee of Botswana in
2004 (46-6).
This time many believe Hayatou’s
opponent, Ahmad of Madagascar,
could change the status quo.
Bility, who has long been a thorn
in Caf’s side after speaking out on
several issues, told BBC Sport. “The
reality is that football has come to be
more active, more democratic, more
involving – and we have to do that.
“We have to follow the path of the
rest of the world, as Africa cannot
afford to be left behind. I believe that
Africa is ready for change. This is the
first time in the history of (Hayatou’s)
Caf that there is a real and possible
challenge to the leadership.”
Under the 70-year-old Haytou’s
control, African football has changed
immensely.
He has, among several measures,
overseen the expansion of the Africa
Cup of Nations from eight teams to 16,
the increase in the number of Africa’s
World Cup representatives (from two
to five), remodelling and financially
boosting club competitions as well as
greatly boosting Caf’s finances.
The 2007 introduction of the
African Nations Championship,
which is like the Nations Cup but
only using footballers who play in
their domestic league, has proved
very popular while it was also on
the Cameroonian’s watch that Africa
staged its first World Cup in 2010 (in
South Africa).
Despite the myriad achievements,
Bility believes time is up for veteran
Hayatou and that a new leader
should steer African football into the
future.
He believes Ahmad, who outlined
a desire for improved governance,
with a commitment to increased
transparency and reinvestment in his
manifesto, is the right man.
“He’s presented a programme to
all 54 countries – I’ve never seen this
before,” added Bility.
“Normally, we go to elections
and there are no promises. There is
nothing to hold the president against.
This time around, we have a guy who
is running on something we can hold
him to.
“The other candidate (Hayatou)
does not care to give a programme.
He just goes through election
after election, acclamation after
acclamation. There is no promise
made to us, therefore there are no
obligations or broken promises. This
is what we need to change.”
With Hayatou’s critics saying he
runs African football with an iron
fist while relying on a handful of
close advisers, Bility believes Caf will
benefit from different personnel and
fresh ideas.
“It’s not to say that Hayatou has
not done much for Africa – African
football has come of age – it’s to say
that there is no way that you can
keep an individual in authority for
over 29 years. There is nothing new he exclaimed

Ahmad is from a country
that is struggling to develop
football. He understands the
difficulties we go through as
presidents.”
T
he southern African
football region Cosafa, which
encompasses Madagascar, has
said it will vote for Ahmad –
which accounts for 14 votes (a
tally that might be less given
Comoros has offered its vote to
Hayatou) – while Nigeria and
Djibouti have also publicly
backed the Malagasy.
Nigeria’s federation
president Amaju Pinnick told
BBC Sport he believes there is a
need to change the “tiny cabal”
that runs Caf, so echoing
Ahmad who spoke of the need
to reconcile the African football
family in his manifesto.
There is also a need to repair
relations with Fifa, which
frayed after Caf instructed
all its members to vote for
Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman in
the football’s world governing
body’s February 2016 elections.
Wh
en Gianni Infantino assumed
the FIFA presidency instead, CAF was
left exposed.
“You can see clearly that CAF and
FIFA
are not moving in the same
direction,” says Bility.
“If President Hayatou wins,
there will be rancour and I would
foresee a period of uncertainty.”
Despite his desire to see
Hayatou replaced, Bility is
adamant the Cameroonian
should be afforded a befitting
send-off.
“We’d like to see President
Hayatou retire honourably. We’d
like to thank him for everything
he has done for African football.
We want to respect and make sure
his time is recorded in history –
with due honour given,” he said.
“But at the same time we
want to move forward to a
new development and a new
generation of leaders. This is not a
campaign in which we are going
to get involved in mud-slinging
and bad-mouthing – we just wan

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