The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has again warned Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) and Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) president, Dr. Philip Chiyangwa, as misunderstandings grow following his 58th birthday and COSAFA election victory celebrations in Harare on Thursday.
Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) president, Gianni Infantino, FIFA secretary general Fatima Samba Diouf Samoura and 13 African football FA presidents were in attendance at the function held at Rainbow Towers Thursday night.
CAF has questioned the notion that the gathering was an informal meeting as argued by Chiyangwa.
The ‘meeting’ has attracted great continental interest with CAF presidential elections coming up next month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Mauritian FA president, Ahamad Ahmad, is widely believed to have the support of all of the FA presidents in attendance of Thursday’s celebrations, is earmarked for election victory, while Dr. Chiyangwa is believed to be his campaign manager.
Overall, Ahmad is believed to have been endorsed by 35 federation heads as the continent looks set to end incumbent Issa Hayatou’s 30-year-reign.
Recently, as the presidential race heats up, Chiyangwa has demanded an apology from CAF for accusing him of holding an unsanctioned meeting of federation presidents, arguing that he had the democratic right to invite whoever he wished away from the organisation’s business. CAF has hit back at Chiyangwa’s demands for an apology.
Part of the letter from CAF Secretary General, Hicham El Amrani, read:
“We have well noted your reply dated February 14th 2017 in relation to the above (convening of presidents of member associations in Harare).
“The purpose of our letter to you would appear to have been totally misunderstood by you and in this could have arisen as a result of the wrong perception which you seem to create in your own letters, namely your letter addressed to the President of the Football Association of Zambia Mr Andrew Kamanga on your personal letterhead (Annex 1) inviting him to celebrate your election as President of COSAFA as well as your birthday, whereas your letter on the same date addressed to the President of the Mali Football Association (Annex 2), uses the COSAFA letterhead, and merely refers to your election and makes no reference to your birthday.
“At the same time, we were formally informed by FIFA that the visit of the FIFA President to Zimbabwe is aimed at visiting your federation and discuss football development with other stakeholders and present the FIFA development programs, Zimbabwe being the first stop of an African tour.
“As far as your personal celebrations are concerned, you are quite entitled to invite whomsoever you wish, but in view of the different letterheads used and the established work visit of the FIFA President, it does not seem indeed that it is an “informal” meeting.
“Finally, we have noted with much surprise your ambitious wish to have CAF present to you apologies. It would be preferable to think thoroughly about the same prior to writing to CAF.
“For your information this matter will be tabled on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the CAF Executive Committee.