20 June 2019

Africa's Football Chief Drafts FIFA Big Guns to Sort Out His Patch

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Ahmad Ahmad

African football's most powerful executive on Thursday revealed he had called in one of the top administrators from the world game's governing body Fifa to speed up a revamp of the way his organisation operates.

Ahmad Ahmad, the president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), said Fifa general secretary Fatma Samoura had agreed to spend six months redefining the attitudes and image of the continent's administrators.

"We are in a period of construction," Ahmad told a press conference on the eve of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. "There is nobody better than Fifa to come in and do this."

Samoua, aided by a team of advisors, will take up her post on 1 August and target how Caf can become more open about its working methods and how it tackles corruption. The position can be lengthened if Samoura decides more needs to be done.

Role

During her secondment, Fifa's second-in-command will also evaluate how to ensure the efficient organisation of Caf's competitions.

The appointment comes in the wake of the chaos which engulfed the second leg of the Caf Champions League final in May.

The game was abandoned when players from Wydad Casablanca refused to continue the tie against the Tunisian side Esperance. Wydad wanted a disallowed goal to be reviewed by the video assistant referee - Var.

However match organisers told them that the technology was not operating due to technical difficulties.

After the referee awarded the game to Esperance, Caf later said the second leg would be replayed.

Technology

Var will be used from the quarter-finals at the Cup of Nations at three stadiums in Cairo and one in Suez.

"It's a measure of prudence. When you see the various countries that use Var, they don't rush into it from the start," said Ahmad. "It's a technology that a lot of people don't completely use yet.

"It was planned for the semi-finals to start with, but we insisted that we have to go a little bit further. The executive committee decided on the quarter-finals, so that it's a success.

The Cup of Nations - expanded for the first time to 24 teams - starts on 21 June with the Group A match between hosts Egypt and Zimbabwe at the Cairo International Stadium.

The final - the 52nd match of the tournament - will be held on 19 July at the same venue.

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