Mugabe issues Hayatou warning

FORMER Zifa chairman Leo Mugabe has warned progressive forces pushing to unseat Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Issa Hayatou in tomorrow’s elections that it will not be an easy task.


Issa Hayatou
Issa Hayatou

Hayatou, who hails from Cameroon, has been in control of African football since 1988.

His rule, however, has been met with disapproval from several federations, who accuse him of corruption among other things, and are calling for leadership renewal in the African game.

And tomorrow, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Cameroonian faces perhaps his biggest test in nearly three decades at the helm of African football with Madagascar Football Association president Ahmad Ahmad challenging him.

Zifa and Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) president Philip Chiyangwa is Ahmad’s campaign manager and has been strongly critical of the Cameroonian. The flamboyant Harare businessman claims his camp has already bagged 34 votes – more than enough to win the Caf presidency.

But Mugabe – who served as Zifa chairman between 1994 and 2002 and was also in the Caf executive committee – yesterday said those calling for Hayatou’s removal face a tall order.

He reckoned that it was not easy to dislodge a sitting president.

“It’s a tall order unless they (those pushing for change) are well-resourced. I know this, I have been in the system. Hopefully, those that are in the opposing camp did their homework because winning that election will not be easy. Hayatou has been quiet, but obviously he has done his homework too,” Mugabe said.

Hayatou is also known for his retribution against perceived opponents and there are fears that he could retaliate against Zimbabwe if he retains power.

Madagascar’s rights to host the 2017 Under-17 Championships were promptly withdrawn soon after Ahmad announced he would challenge Africa’s football strongman .

Zimbabwe has already had a taste of Hayatou’s wrath. Having been given the rights to host the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals, they were brutally withdrawn after Hayatou had been angered by reports that Mugabe had voted for Sepp Blatter in the 1998 Fifa elections, going against a Caf resolution to vote for Lennart Johansson.

In withdrawing the rights, Caf cited lack of preparedness as well as the unavailability of a government guarantee.

Despite Burkina Faso having staged the tournament in 1998 with only two stadia that met international requirements, rules were bent after Zimbabwe had been given the rights with Caf demanding four stadia instead.

Mugabe has denied that he voted for Blatter against the wishes of Caf, saying it was former Cosafa president Ishmael Bhamjee who misled Caf as the two battled for regional supremacy.

“The rights to host the 2000 Afcon tournament could have been taken away from us because of the reports that I had voted for Blatter. But I can tell you it was not true. I was in the Caf executive committee and I could not go against the agreement that I was part of. What was happening was that Bhamjee was battling for regional supremacy and was feeding Caf with wrong information to tarnish my image,” Mugabe said.

The former Zifa boss also said it would be wrong for Hayatou to hit back at Zimbabwe in the event that he secured another term of office tomorrow.

Mugabe blamed the Cameroonian for failing to protect Zimbabwe when they were booted out of the World Cup despite the fact that he was acting Fifa president.

“Hayatou did nothing to protect us as country when we were expelled from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. He knows our situation in Africa that we are not well-resourced and it was unfair to ban us from the World Cup qualifiers.

He was Fifa acting president, but he did nothing. Zimbabwe should not have been punished by denying our players the chance to participate at such a big stage. Can you put a value to what we lost by failure to participate compared to what we owed the coach?” Mugabe said.

Chiyangwa last month invited several football federations, including Fifa president Gianni Infantino, to his birthday and Cosafa victory celebrations in Harare.

However, harsh words have since been exchanged with Hayatou accusing Chiyangwa of convening a formal football meeting against Fifa statutes which require him to only convene a gathering of federation presidents in the Cosafa region.

Hayatou believes Chiyangwa has been plotting his downfall.

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  1. Nonsense. These Mugabes want power too much and by extension they support those who are power hungry as well. Hayatou will be challenged and he will go.

    1. You clearly seem not to have comprehended what Leo said there. Read again!!!

      1. True. Respondent 1 just threw away both the baby and the bath water.

        1. kkkkkk like they do to MDC and/or Zanu-PF

    2. Leo speaks for the first time the history which we always suspected and I wonder why you are shooting him down. Do you know that history I doubt?

  2. Ruramai Mutemasaka

    @ Peter, either way we do not need people like Hayatou in football. He should go hang!

  3. Well,those are facts from leo, all we need is to stay strrong, back Chiyangwa even if his camp loses. In that case watch out for fire works the old man will whip zifa every second he is alive. Brave men like Phillip are the ones we need inorder to a have change of leadership, its a shame to mention that Leo you are one of thoz power hungry leaders, waisada kubva mu office, uchiba ma votes. All the same takakubvisa and we will overthrow Hoyatou.

    Good luck mdara Phidza, only a few hours to go to heaven or to hell

    1. Here is my Count: 14 votes COSAFA, 11 minus Djibuti East Africa 4 North Africa.

      I think Ahmad is going to win even if all of West Africa, including Nigeria, votes for Hayatou!!

      This time haalume kkk Thief Phidza will prevail over thief Hayatou.

  4. I guest he will make life difficult for chiyangwa n zifa if he wins the elections tomorrow I don’t like him either he should just go N leave the leadership to you blood he have been there for too long

  5. In that case it confirms what we always thought when AFCON hosting was robbed from us and we were never given a chance to contest for participation. Hayatou has never been our friend should we be banned from CAF let us be banned but with a spirited fight till he goes

  6. Mr Leo, its easy to unseat Hayatou than your uncle the nonagenarian.

  7. Well Leo may be telling the truth , but i hope this time around Hayatou would face a challenge. West African countries at times are bullies and they do not respect countries from the Southern region. I will be happy if countries can gang up to overthrow this man who is unfair and favours west African countries. A leader should be partial and not take sides

    1. They are trying hard to undo a “done deal”

  8. Its as easy as ABC to unseat Hayatou than the nonagenarian.

  9. In yestarday’s CAF’s meeting, Fidza was charged and will appear before a disciplinary committee where he faces a lengthly ban from all football activities. Hayatou operates like Gushungo and should he win then Zimbabwe will be the biggest loser, thanks to Fidza. Anywhere, it will be gud riddance to bad rubbish. Fidza should concentrate on winning the Chinhoyi seat for his uncle and leave football to genuine football lovers

  10. Wezhira wezhara

    Iwe $ mbavha yema votes ndiChiyangwa uyo akabhadhara maZIFA councilors and he is doing the same kuCAF. How does he guarantee 34 votes kana asina kuba or kubhadhara? Leo is talking facts hameno kuti wakamu vengereyi

    1. Well, Chiyangwa’s camp gou endorsements from COSAFA (14), EastAfrica (10), North Africa at least 4, and Infantino’s Africans at FIFA.
      They have at least 32 votes safe.

  11. I think this is the time everyone gangs up against soccer dictators of West Africa. The silly idiots like Hayatou must be kicked out. Take the bull by its fake horns Fidza. Chinjaaaaaaaa

  12. I think the challenge on Hayatou by Chiyangwa and company came a bit late. I do not see this dictator going anywhere.

  13. If the zeal to unseat Hayatou was coming from a principle, I would be impressed. Both Leo & Phidza have their relative glued to power here in Zimbabwe for longer than Hayatou by a good 8 years and we ignore that and listen to their hogwash – just because its soccer – let them speak against their relative’s 37 years term first then I can support them. That way they are being consistent in both argument and intention. I feel they are whipping up emotional and national jingoism for selfish ends here. Only cheapskates can buy such crap.

  14. fresh You missed what Mugabe said in that article,dont just hate the Mugabes for the sake of it ,learn to be objective in all matters but once you are subjective then you misfire most of the time, as judgement is not inspired by reason but by emotions.


  16. Misleading headline. When Mugabe name is involved please be elaborate because what comes into mind is President Mugabe.

  17. Nkosie malebomfula

    Oho ths monkey thinks is better?, i wish theyy do to him wht he did to Bosso officials. So abanengi libheka nextdoor likhohlwe okwakwenu?. Why dnt u sort our Bosso issue before u talk of Caf. At least he wiil face displinary thn to be suspended fo decades with no hearing. Let the dog sit on hs fire.

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