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Wednesday, 15 May, 2002, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK
Hayatou replies
In two weeks time Issa Hayatou could be elected Fifa president, but is he the man to repair football's tarnished image?

You put questions to the president of the Confederation of African Football and he now replies.


How do you hope to win against Blatter, who has strong support even in Africa?

Shina Okeleji, Nigeria

I have more supporters in Africa - I am sure.

I will get a minimum of 45 votes in Africa. Somebody said that 23 African countries who are against me recently met in Tripoli in Libya, but its not true.

It's true that 17 countries went to Libya, but it was to organize the development of football in Africa, for women especially and youth. It was not for the election campaign. When it came to discussing supporting Blatter, all the representatives refused.

So it's not true when people say that 23 went to Libya to support Blatter. It is not correct.


Why are big names in African Football like George Weah and fellow Cameroonian Roger Milla against your candidacy?

Maish, Kenya/South Africa
Samual Kayondo, Uganda
T-Alain Ntchinda, Cameroon

I don't know. I have many fans also in Europe. The Fifa election is the world election, so it's normal that Mr. Blatter has some fans from Africa.

I am not afraid that Roger Milla isn't backing me, because he doesn't have a vote. But he can't tell Cameroon not to vote for Issa Hayatou. It's the same for Abedi Pele, Basil Boli, the same to all the former players.

Open Quote
South America has just two big teams, Brazil and Argentina. The rest are at the same level of Africa, Asia and Concacaf
Close Quote
On South American teams

I have some supporting me, but I have refused to include them in my election campaign. I don't feel betrayed by Roger Milla. He changes his mind all the time. Sometimes he says he supports Hayatou, two days later he says the best should win.


How many votes do you expect to get from the different football federations?

Eric Limen, Cameroon/USA

The most important thing for me is to win the election. There are 204 votes in Fifa. I will get a minimum of 103. Then I will win the election.


You have some powerful backers like Uefa's Lennart Johansson. Aren't you simply going to be a puppet ruler for them?

Ane Divine, Cameroon/Sweden

No. I am 56 years old now. I've been involved in top-level football for 28 years now.

Mr. Johansson is a very honest man, a very clever man. He's giving me support because he's followed for a long time, since 1990. He doesn't give me support so he can manipulate me. If Uefa want bad things, then I won't agree, and they could turn against me. That's normal.

But I know Mr. Johansson and some others in Uefa have been following me and know exactly what I can do. He isn't pushing me because he wants to lead Fifa through me.


50% of World Cup champions have come from South America. How can it be right to cut their places?

Michael Sines, USA

Yes, 50% have come from South America, but that's because they've been given a bigger chance than other continents.

Africa and Asia could do with the same advantage. South America has just two big teams, Brazil and Argentina. The rest are at the same level of Africa, Asia and Concacaf.

But Paraguay and Uraguay are the same as countries in Africa. So if Uruguay don't qualify, it means another team from Africa or Europe could come in instead.


What can you tell the football world to give reassurance that you will support all interests - the weak as well as the strong.

Neba, Cameroon/UK

Open Quote
I can't give Africa special treatment
Close Quote
On developing the game

I am running to be the head of 'world' football. I am not running on behalf of Africa. When I win on 29 May, someone else will take over as president of Caf.

This man will be fighting for Africa. Me, I will not be African at this time. I will be football president of the whole world. A small country from Africa, Asia or Europe, from anywhere in the world, will get the same treatment from me. I will give help everywhere when it's needed for football.


What will you do to help develop the game in Africa?

Kiyemba Paul, Uganda

I can't give Africa special treatment. I will be president of the world, so I will help Africa like I help the rest of world. I will be elected for the world, not only for Africa. The new president of Caf will work for Africa.


You say you want to limit the term of office of the Fifa president to two terms. Why haven't you done this at Caf, where you've been in charge for 14 years. I find this really weird.

Sherif, Egypt

The time is coming now at Caf. If I am not elected as Fifa president, I will introduce it at the next Caf congress. I think that everywhere in the world we need limits. It is not correct that people stay in the big jobs for 20 plus years. At the 2004 Congress I will propose that the Caf president stays for just two terms.


What are your first priorities if you become the Fifa President?

Feston Baluwa, UK

I will alter the allocation of places at the World Cup.

Immediately I am elected, I will introduce an amendment to the executive committee that South America has 3 places, Europe 13.5 and so on.

And also I will try and give more transparency and more democracy in Fifa. I will call all members of the family to work together. Now there is fighting inside Fifa, and it's not good for football. There is no cohesion, and it's not good for the image and prestige of Fifa.


Would you keep up the pressure to make sure Africa gets the World Cup in 2010?

Sani Muhammad, Nigeria

The congress has taken this decision, and nobody can change it. The congress in Buenos Aries approved the proposal, so the rotation system in 2010 will begin in Africa.

Open Quote
Now there is fighting inside Fifa, and it's not good for football
Close Quote
On priorities for Fifa


There's a big gap in football between the rich and poor countries. What can you do to stop European clubs taking the best players from South America and Africa, which means European clubs are very strong and others are severely weakened.

Damola Adefajo, Nigeria

We've tried to do something about this in Africa. But it is very difficult.

Africa doesn't have the right conditions to have really strong club teams. The national teams are very strong, and Caf has set up a committee to try and solve the problem. Maybe they will find a solution between now and the end of the year.

None of countries in East Africa have qualified for the Nations Cup since 1992. Fans are tired of watching other teams on TV and want a representative. Why can't there be regional qualifiers? What are you going to do about it?


Emmanuel Muga, Tanzania

When we begin each Nations Cup campaign, we have 52 teams. That has to go down to 16. The Nations Cup is not a national assembly. The best teams get there. There cannot be regional qualifiers. Many people have tried to have regional qualifiers, but it would be no good. This is the African Championship. These same countries understand that only the best teams can get to the final tournament.

Open Quote
The police have their instructions to keep people off the pitch, and nobody can break them, not even the president of Caf
Close Quote
On the Thomas Nkono incident at Mali 2002

Maybe if the teams in East Africa work very hard they will be there. But having regional qualifiers will do nothing for the development of football in Africa.


Why did Caf ban Thomas Nkono after the Nations Cup in Mali? He was the one attacked by the police.

Mike, England

Mr. Nkono came onto the pitch too early. When you organize a big competition like the Nations Cup, the police have instructions not to let any enter onto the pitch earlier than 45 minutes before kick-off. Mr. Nkono tried to get onto the pitch an hour-and-a-half before. He made a big problem with the police, and there was an altercation.

The match commissioner handed in his report, and Caf took the decision to impose a ban. Mr. Nkono was not correct. If you go to a country and don't respect the police, it is not right.

Mr. Nkono did not follow the regulations, and the police tried to block him from the pitch. He was not happy with that, and took against the decision. The police have their instructions to keep people off the pitch, and nobody can break them, not even the president of Caf.


Why was Jean-Claude Ganga, the corrupt former president of Anoca, invited to the opening game of the Nations Cup as a special guest of Caf?

John Boimah, USA

The IOC banned Ganga, but he is a free man. He came to see the football. Don't forget that he helped build sport in Africa. Caf didn't invite him, but when he turned up, we gave him the opportunity to see the game.

He didn't come to the congress, he had no official capacity. If he wanted he could go to the Olympic games - who can tell him he can't? He was not a special guest.


Why did Samuel Osei Kuffour not win the African Player of the Year Award 2001? He had a fantastic 12 months.

Nana Kwame Addo, Ghana

This is not my problem. I am not a member of the jury. It is journalists who make the decision. I don't have an opinion on the matter. I was called in to give the award, that's all.


Between Nigeria and Cameroon, who do you think is the greatest football nation in Africa, and who will do best at the World Cup?

Theophilus Cyril Udoh, Nigeria

They are both equal. Nigeria and Cameroon can both do well at the World Cup. Cameroon are a very young side though.


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