Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Corrupt Administrators of Football, CAF

MY GOOD FRIEND, “Britico” journalist Osasu Obayiuwana, must be shaking his head in disgust following last weekend’s coronation of Issa Hayatou for another four year term as president of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) at the body’s elective congress in Marrakech, Morocco. I call Osasu “Britico” because of his British accent and mannerisms.

What Osasu and other critical watchers of African football would find most disgusting was not Hayatou’s return per se, since that fact had been sealed even before the “election” where the Camerounian was the sole candidate for the presidency, following the disqualification of the Ivorian Jacques Anouma. What must rankle Osasu and the critics to the bones are the return of Mali’s Amadou Diakite to the CAF executive committee and the election of Benin Republic’s Moucharafou Anjorin who defeated Nigeria’s own Aminu Maigari.

Diakite was banned for two years from all football activities by FIFA only three years ago following his indictment in the vote-buying scandal that rocked the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. But last weekend in Morocco, Diakite received a “standing ovation” from African FA presidents who returned him to the CAF exco with a simple majority vote of 35 out of 54, leaving his  opponents from Liberia and Senegal to share the crumbs.

In the case of Anjorin, here was a man who was arrested two years ago on allegations of embezzling sponsorship money in his impoverished country and was jailed for six months. But African FA presidents didn’t seem to care about his ex-convict status and voted him ahead of Maigari in a run-off ballot that Anjorin won by 35 votes to 19.

While some may argue that there was nothing wrong in electing people who had wronged the system provided they had served their punishment, the failure of candidates like Danny Jordaan of South Africa who did the continent proud by organizing a globally-acclaimed 2010 FIFA World Cup, suggests that CAF tolerates corruption more than it rewards excellence and performance. In which case, we may as well rebrand them as the Corrupt Administrators of Football (CAF).

Diakite’s return, meanwhile, is a good sign for Nigeria’s Dr. Amos Adamu who is still serving his own three-year suspension by FIFA over the vote-buying scandal. Adamu will complete his suspension in November this year, which could make him eligible for a return to the CAF executive committee at the next elections in 2015.

I have previously predicted in this column that Adamu will not only make a return to the CAF exco after serving his FIFA suspension, he remains very much in line to actually succeed Issa Hayatou as CAF president. Now, consider this: Hayatou (born August 9, 1946) may NOT complete his latest four-year tenure which should ordinarily expire in 2017 because he will attain the retirement age of 70 as stipulated in the CAF statutes a year earlier in 2016.

If Adamu returns to the CAF exco in 2015, he will qualify to contest the presidency if Hayatou steps down in 2016. I stand firmly by my previous prediction that Adamu may yet emerge as Nigeria’s first president of CAF. The big question is whether Nigeria will nominate him as a candidate when the time comes.

Osasu and the critics, what do you say?

Maigari’s Defeat

I LIKE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Alhaji Aminu Maigari and I mean it. I’m not being sarcastic. I truly mean it.

I like Maigari primarily because he’s a gentleman. We have had several discussions on Nigerian football on the telephone and he always struck me as a very humble and listening person. Some of those who work with him say that he could be naive, weak and non-assertive. Others say he could be reticent and cold when he has an axe to grind with you. But nobody has ever told me that Maigari was ruthless or wicked. Perhaps that is why God has blessed his tenure as NFF president with some excellent results especially our recent AFCON victory, despite his seemingly modest acumen in football administration.

I would have loved Maigari to win a seat on the CAF executive committee at last weekend’s election in Morocco because of my likeness for him. But, to be honest, I do not feel sorry that he lost. Typically, Maigari has reportedly said he also has “no hard feelings” about his loss. But since his aspiration was supposedly a Nigeria project presumably financed by Nigeria’s resources, I have a few posers for Maigari and his campaign managers. Under each poser, I have some hypothetical questions, some hypothetical answers and some hypothetical implications. You don’t have to attach any importance to the following speculations gathered from some insider sources...

Poser Number One: Did Maigari consult with Dr. Amos Adamu before seeking the CAF executive seat since he would effectively be replacing Adamu who is serving a suspension? If yes, did Adamu genuinely give his consent? If yes, did Maigari truly believe that Adamu would surrender to him a seat which Adamu fought for many years to win even without government support at the time of the elections? Did it not occur to Maigari that the CAF seat is Adamu’s only remaining point of relevance in international sports administration and he wouldn’t truly want to let go? Even if Adamu said yes, did it not occur to Maigari that Adamu would not say “no” so that he was not accused of interfering with the CAF elections while he is still suspended from “all football activities?” Has Maigari forgotten how Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima was blocked from taking over Adamu’s CAF seat when Adamu had just been suspended? Did it occur to Maigari that Galadima was blocked because he was not likely to yield the seat back to Adamu after the expiration of Adamu’s suspension? Even if Adamu said “yes” to Maigari, did Maigari offer to step down from the CAF seat at the expiration of Adamu’s suspension?

Poser Number Two: Did Maigari consult with Issa Hayatou? If yes, did Hayatou give him a go-ahead? If yes, did Maigari believe him? Did it occur to Maigari that Moucharafou Anjorin of Benin Republic who eventually defeated Maigari is a long-time ally of Hayatou and that Hayatou would not betray Anjorin? Did Maigari realize that as president, Hayatou would actually not want to be seen to be backing a particular candidate and he would simply encourage all of them to go and lobby while using his private machinery to push the candidature of Anjorin? Did Maigari consider that he was relatively new to CAF politics while Anjorin has been running for a seat for some time? Did it occur to Maigari that Hayatou and Adamu who are also allies could have settled for Anjorin which would make Maigari’s task virtually impossible?

Poser  Number Three: What did Maigari’s campaign managers tell him? Did they assure him that they could deliver the CAF seat with or without Adamu’s support? Did Maigari believe them? If they were sure they could deliver without Adamu’s backing, why were there cries at the election venue that a certain unnamed Nigerian (presumably Adamu?) had influenced the votes against Nigeria (Maigari)? How much were the campaign managers given to “lobby” the electorate? Is there a way to check whether they delivered the ‘booty” since receipts are not issued or collected? Did the Anjorin camp out-spend the Maigari camp even when all the delegates know that Nigeria is far richer than Benin Republic? Could Adamu who was nowhere near Morocco have used remote control to influence the electorate while Maigari’s campaigners who were on the ground became helpless? Would that not be an admission of Adamu’s superiority to them in CAF politics?

Poser Number Four: What kind of support did the Maigari campaign receive from the NFF secretariat, the board members and other Nigerians in CAF committees? Were the entire NFF secretariat staff fully behind Maigari’s candidature as opposed to Adamu returning to CAF in future? Were the entire board members genuinely in support of Maigari’s campaign as opposed to Adamu returning to the CAF seat? Were there no issues of divided loyalty and insider sabotage by fifth columnists?

Benefit of insight, they say, is 20-20 vision. By the time Alhaji Aminu Maigari analyses the foregoing posers, he will come to crystal-clear answers on why he lost the CAF election to Moucharafou Anjorin of “tiny” Benin Republic.

Up Sooting!

AT LONG last, the 2012/2013 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) got under way last weekend across the country. I guess we are all tired of complaining about the short-comings of the league and we are just relieved to see some football action. Sponsor or no sponsor, players’ contracts or no contracts, security or no security, let the games just start and so we have started. God help us.

The star match of the opening week was the “Oriental Derby” between Rangers and Enyimba which Rangers won 1-0 in Enugu. The star result-of-the-week was newscomers Nembe City’s 2-1 shock away win over Heartland FC in Owerri. But my sentimental result of the week was the 2-0 win by 3SC over Gombe United in Ibadan which immediately catapulted the Oluyole Warriors to first position in the table. 3SC being my very first childhood club, I hope “we” can be in that pole position on the last day of the season. Up Sooting!

I have a few words for the League Management Committee (LMC) boss, the respected Honourable Nduka Irabor. Sir, we want zero tolerance for corruption, please. Sir, some of us know you personally, we know your antecedents, we know you are courageous, we know you are credible. You are our role model, so please don’t let us down. If any “sharks” come around to compromise you, tell them your boys are watching!
Sir, I wish you and your team a successful and revolutionary tenure for the betterment of our football league, amen.

Odegbami Bereaved

OUR own dear Mathematical Segun Odegbami is in pains. Last week, he lost his older brother, CHIEF DELE ODEGBAMI, in very tragic circumstances.

For me personally, it was a big shock as I had seen Chief Dele Odegbami just a week before at Segun’s office, hale and hearty and he even threw some jokes at me. I can therefore imagine the depth of Segun Odegbami’s grief at losing such a loving brother so suddenly.

I pray that God almighty will give the entire Odegbami clan the fortitude to bear this loss, amen.

6 comments:

  1. That Hayatou and his cabal must continue running football on the continent reflects the old cliche that a people get the leader they deserve.
    We all share the collective guilt of Hayatou's dictatorship: the media, for not doing enough to expose the cess-pool that is CAF; ex-players in football administration, cue Kalusha Bwalya, who supported the recent CAF statute limiting the CAF top-seat to a select few; the rest of us, for, er, doing absolutely nothing.
    It is abhorrent that a proven administrator like Danny Jordaan cannot get an opportunity at CAF.

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  2. What ever happened at CAF elections will never surprise me because that is the norm even at the higher FIFA level. The hausa proverb which says that 'the antelope is a good sprinter therefore it's offspring cannot crawl' suffice here. It is unfortunate that the world's most popular sport is held spell bound by a corrupt, seat tight clique of individauls who refuse to let go even in these days globalization and democracy . Come to help, ya Allah.

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  3. Is CAF some people private properties? It is bad that you have to consult these set of corrupt individuals for you to be a part of CAF. Since they are not stupid, I don't expect them to allow in someone who will rock the boat or expose their ineptitude.
    How much influence does a nation have over these people? Yet, they will eventually fail and their wickedness exposed. Because at the end, all men are pencils in the hand of the Creator

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  4. CAF administration or executive council reflects what really goes on in FIFA and most global governing bodies including national govts. I think publications like complete sports should expose these corruptions when evidents is credible and strong but shouldn't waste their time hunting down these corrupt human beings whose careers are based on corrupt practices. When the people (sports followers and lovers) are ready for change then it is they the people who will call for change and change will come about. At the moment, myself and others could only just look on annoyed and biting our lip with disappointment.

    My condolence to the Odegbami family. Please advise chief segun Odegbami to put foeward another picture for his column.

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  5. I felt really bad after reading this. It effects FIFA the most. I am fond of playing soccer so I will join soccer camps soon. My friend told me to apply at Soccer Camps as they offer the best schedule on reasonable rates.

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  6. Nigerian team has proved that they are best in African continent - http://www.ngr24.com/

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