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Page last updated at 09:48 GMT, Friday, 19 November 2010

Caf needs image rebuild

Issa Hayatou
Hayatou must rebuild his organisation's image

By Farayi Mungazi
Presenter: BBC Fast Track

Like a boxer looking in the mirror the morning after the fight, African football finds itself examining its face to see how badly it has been bruised.

It does not need a genius to conclude that the punishments handed down to Amos Adamu and three other African officials by Fifa on Thursday have cast a dark shadow over the African game.

Nigerian Adamu was banned from football activity for three years and Tahiti's Reynald Temarii for one year following claims in Britain's Sunday Times that they asked for money in exchange for votes in the contest to choose the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts.

Adamu insists that he is innocent of all the charges levelled against him and will appeal.

Two current members of the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) - Slim Aloulou of Tunisia and Mali's Amadu Diakite - were also caught on the wrong side of the Fifa code of ethics and banned.

They are joined in the doghouse by Botswana's Ismail Bhamjee - another former Caf official who was forced out of Fifa in 2006.

For a continent still basking in the glory of hosting its first ever World Cup, the suspensions of the four officials represent an almighty kick in the teeth.

All of which means Caf president Issa Hayatou finds himself with the unenviable task of rebuilding his organisation's image and salvaging the continent's dignity.

This is an institution that splits opinion right down the middle, whether it be internally in Africa or around the world.

Winning back the trust of fans is, therefore, an immensely difficult challenge; one that requires a radical transformation of Caf and the way it conducts business.

Whether or not people agree with the methods employed by The Sunday Times, no one doubts that the damage inflicted by the newspaper's sting will take time to dissipate.

Of course, football can be a complicated business, but could this crisis also be a golden opportunity for Caf to reinvent itself at next year's general assembly in Khartoum?

With Adamu, Diakite and Aloulou gone, and South Africa's Molefi Oliphant and General Seyi Memene of Togo due to retire, it means no less than nine executive committee posts will be up for grabs when Caf's 52 members meet in the Sudanese capital on 23 February.

The executive committee seats of Hani Aboo Rida (Egypt), Almamy Kabele Camara (Guinea), Celestin Musabyimana (Rwanda) and Thierry Kamach (Central African Republic) will all be contested in February as their four-year terms will have expired.

Eight seats represents 50% of Caf's top decision-making body.

South Africa's World Cup chief Danny Jordaan and Ghana FA boss Kwesi Nyatekyi have already thrown their hats into the ring - with Jordaan also eyeing a seat on Fifa's executive committee.

In football, as in all things, it pays to work out where the real power rests. After all, football boardrooms are places of intrigue and great drama.

I understand that Jordaan has some very powerful backers within Fifa, which pretty much makes him a shoe-in for both the Caf and Fifa posts.

Whatever happens at next year's general assembly - arguably the most important in many moons - one thing is crystal clear: African football cannot take any more punches.

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see also
Fifa bans over vote scandal
18 Nov 10 |  Europe
Fifa official denies vote selling
22 Oct 10 |  Africa
Fifa suspends duo over vote claim
21 Oct 10 |  Football
Fifa probes vote selling claims
17 Oct 10 |  Home

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