January 18 – Ousted in 2017 in an election that brought the now disgraced Ahmad Ahmad to power, former Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Issa Hayatou has been named Honorary President of the organisation.
Hatayou (pictured centre), the longest serving leader in the history of African football, was handed the symbolic gesture at a ceremony last Friday on the eve of the delayed African Nations Championship (CHAN), the tournament designed exclusively for locally based players at African clubs.
The decision to confer the title on Hayatou was proposed by the CAF Executive Committee at its meeting last month, and unanimously approved by its General Assembly.
Hayatou, now 74, headed CAF from 1988 to 2017 during which time he brought the World Cup to South Africa, only to be beaten as he sought an eighth term by the then little-known Ahmad in a shock election result.
Four years later and it was all smiles, with acting CAF President Constant Omari (pictured left) making a special presentation to Hayatou, with FIFA president Gianni Infantino (pictured right) in attendance.
“For a long time at CAF, we have been thinking and preparing this event that is dedicated to you,” Omari said. “On behalf of the CAF Executive Committee, senior management members, staff, and till the last servant of African football, and in the presence of FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who elevated you to the rank of honorary vice-president of FIFA, I bestow on you title of Honorary President of CAF.
“From now and forever, you will be our guide, and our doyen, elder brother, but above all our Honorary President.”
Meanwhile, hosts Cameroon got their CHAN campaign off to a winning start with a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe on Saturday, the continent’s biggest football event since the start of Covid-19.
Cameroon is hosting the sixth edition of the competition, delayed from its original date of April 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Mali also won their opening game in the 16-nation competition that runs until February 7.