African football has a new leader in Ahmad, who ousted long-time incumbent Issa Hayatou in Thursday’s Confederation of African Football presidential election.
The 57-year-old Madasgascar FA chief won 34 votes to Hayatou’s 20 to end the Cameroonian’s 29-year reign.
Aoifootball.com scooped some reactions as a result of the stunning result.
Liberia Football Association chairman, Musa Bility
“Africa has made a decision, we are moving forward with football and we have chosen change over the last leadership.
“Ahmad is crying for all of us. I have been through struggle – I have been suspended. Today, I am very proud of the effort and I want to thank all of my colleagues for making this possible.
“We have proved to the world that we are ready for the change that is blowing in football across the world.
“We believed, we are human, we have seen changes in Europe and in FIFA…everywhere in football in the last 18 months there have been changes. We could not allow ourselves to be left behind. We want to be on that train of change.
“Africa has made an emphatic position that we are going for change and a candidate that has given us a plan. We have chosen a plan over no plan.
“Everything is going to change. Football is going to be governed by the association presidents, we are the real power – power will be restored to the football associations and we will make decisions, FIFA-style, Gianni-style.
“Gianni (Infantino) is the boss of football (Fifa), he has changed the way football is run and we will follow that. We will make sure we consult (African football) presidents because they make decisions for their countries.”
Sierra Leone FA president, Isha Johansen
“I’m happy, elated, it is great. This is the change we were talking about, it is good for African football.
“I want people to understand that this was not a campaign against personalities, this was about changing the face and image of the African continent through football – and changing African football for the better.
“I always felt that Ahmad would get the ticket. Celebrations will happen but then he needs to start working, there is a lot to be done but we are all here to support him.
“I’m sure Hayatou will be on hand to give advice. He is an elder and we Africans depend on our elders for advice and support. I’m hoping we will have him on board as an adviser.
“I think there will be more transparency in CAF, I think there will be more changes to women’s football and youth football as well.”
Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission president Khiba Mohoanyane
“The people have spoken and the people have voted in massive numbers. I have to respect their choice.
“I think the future will be much better. Ahmad is younger, and has a vision. We heard him speaking about what he is going to do going forward. It was a statement full of promises.
“It was a similar speech to that of FIFA boss Infantino. I respect both the speeches. I think Ahmad’s speech changed the mood of the house.
“I think Hayatou should have addressed the congress and said ‘people, look I need your support – I might have wronged you here and there but please forgive me’.
“People must confess when the need arises
“But Hayatou did a lot for football and the dues he deserves must be given to him.”
Malawi FA boss, Walter Nyamilandu
“The outcome the least expected but some of us saw it coming and I am very pleased with it.
“We now have a new president coming from COSAFA (Council of Southern Africa Football Associations) and it’s now time to see new things.
“There were a lot of twists and turns and a lot of tension – you couldn’t trust anybody in the journey. But by the close of business yesterday it was clear who the winner was going to be.
“The future should be brighter. The member associations will now have a chance to enjoy the wealth that CAF has had all these years.
“The member associations have been marginalised, we have been suffering a lot, paying a lot of expenses for our national teams and exerting unnecessary pressure on our governments.
“CAF has not done anything to empower the member associations let alone develop football, the focus has only been on CAF competitions.
“It is now time to be inclusive and I see a better future for Africa.”
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