Longest Serving CAF President Issa Hayatou Unseated After 29 Years

The longest-serving CAF President Issa Hayatou was on Thursday voted out of power by African football leaders after 29 years on the job.

Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad pulled off the stunning upset in an election at the organization’s congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The 57-year-old former government minister of sport and of fisheries won the CAF Presidency by 34 votes to Issa Hayatou’s 20 in the election.

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The surprise result was announced by CAF’s 39th General Assembly in Addis Ababa, sending cheers to the CAF Congress as Ahmad was carried on the shoulders of jubilant supporters to the podium.

Ahmad Ahmad will become the body’s seventh president in its 60-year history.

Past CAF Presidents include Abdel Aziz Abdallah Salem (1957-1958), Abdel Aziz Moustafa (1958-1968), Abdel Halim Muhammad (1968-1972), Yidnekatchew Tessema (1972-1987), Abdel Halim Muhammad (1987-1988) and Issa Hayatou (1988-2017).

The 70-year-old Cameroonian has often been re-elected unopposed throughout his tenure. On the two occasions he faced a challenge, he won with landslides.

In 2000, he beat Angola’s Armando Machado by 47-4 votes and four years later, he defeated Ismail Bhamjee of Botswana by 46-6 votes.

Issa Hayatou has not been far from controversy during his long stint at the helm of African football in regards to finance and competition organization.

He has, however, overseen significant improvements in CAF’s standing within the global football community. He has also brought considerable growth in the game within the continent, playing a huge role in bringing the continental showpiece event to the continent.

Speaking after the announcement of the results, the outgoing CAF President told reporters, “It is not that bad,” as he departed the hall.

This is not the end of the Cameroonian’s reign in sporting activities since he is still an International Olympic Committee member.

Hayatou’s loss has ganered mixed reaction on social media with some celebrating and others in shock.