Seychellois Elvis Chetty, the president of the Seychelles Football Federation, has been elected to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) executive committee as an ordinary member.
Chetty, a barrister at law, won the election with 40 out of 50 votes during the annual general meeting of the Confederation of African Football in Rabat, Morocco on March 12.
He is the second Seychellois to sit on the CAF executive committee after Suketu Patel, who was the vice-president of CAF from 2011-2017.
SNA talked to Chetty about what his election means for Seychelles and when local competition might start.
SNA: How do you feel to be elected to the CAF executive committee?
EC: I feel very honoured for the faith entrusted to me by our colleagues from Africa. It is a privilege and I hope to be able to serve them to the best of my ability.
SNA: What will that mean for Seychelles?
EC: Well first of all is that I am the second Seychellois to serve on the CAF executive committee. What this means is that Seychelles will have a say in the direction that the CAF will take. We will be part of the forming and shaping of both the policies and the directions that will be taken by the organisation.
SNA: What will be your role on the committee?
EC: The way our constitution has been drafted ensures that when you elect people on the committee it represents all the African region. Seychelles falls in the southern zone called Cosafa (Council of Southern Africa Football Associations) and it is the biggest zone in Africa. When elected the representative works for the whole of Africa which is why all of the 54 members vote in order for there to be a collective representation of the continent and I won the election for the southern zone.
SNA: What happens now that you have been elected on the committee?
EC: To be honest at this point in time and the amount of work and that of the administration office of CAF is massive. We will have to reshape the organisation bring in new finances and create new governance regulations and consider also amending the statute of the organisation. So there's got to be a lot of work and on top of that there will be the core business which is organising competitions. In the last four years CAF has gone through tremendous difficulties.
SNA: Coming back to Seychelles and our participation in competitions, tell us a bit about the beach soccer we expect to participate in?
EC: We are taking part in the qualification matches of the AFCON beach soccer in Senegal in May. For the qualifying match, Seychelles will be playing against Madagascar. It will be in two legs, one in Seychelles and one in Madagascar. The team that will qualify meet in Senegal for the main qualifier in May.
We are hoping that we will have a chance to qualify but COVID has put a full stop to our local competitions which means that preparation is not as good as it would be otherwise. But I've been asked not to lose hope and that our players have the confidence that they can perform well.
If it is not possible for us to do it here we will be sending our team abroad for both the home and away game although it will not look good on us. But we will do it if it is necessary.
SNA: There is a ban now on team sports as part of the COVID-19 restrictions. Do you know when the football competition will restart locally?
EC: On our side, we expect to be able to restart quite soon. If the country is reopening on the 25th March for the rest of the world I don't see any reason why we cannot restart our competition.
Other businesses are reopening so why can't train for competitive sports resume? I think what we are bringing to society is something positive, especially for young people.
We expect that the health authority will soon give us the go-ahead to start training and then play the matches that we are supposed to be playing.
As for our other competitions, we recognise that it will not be possible for us to restart and end by the timeline that we have set. Therefore our normal league won't expect to continue this year.
We will probably annul the league and start a new one in August like we are supposed to.