THE history of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), which runs African football and in particular the African Cup of Nations, reads like the history of many African nations since independence 60-odd years ago. Its outgoing president, Issa Hayatou, a Cameroonian, finally bowed out following a shock defeat in a vote in the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa on March 16th. He had clung to power for almost three decades. This is nearly as long as Paul Biya, a friend of the Hayatou family and Cameroon’s president, who has been in charge since 1982. CAF has had five presidents since it was established in 1957, the same number as Ivory Coast, one of the continent’s footballing powerhouses, over the same period.
This was the only the third time Mr Hayatou had been challenged. On the two previous occasions, in 2000 and 2004, he won thumping victories. In 2015 he successfully scrapped CAF’s age limits, allowing himself to run again at the age of 69. This followed earlier changes to the organisation’s electoral rules designed to neutralise opposition. “He thought he was invincible,” says Manase Chiweshe, an expert on African football frm...Continue reading