Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Confederation of African Football has written another warning letter to Zifa and Cosafa president Philip Chiyangwa ahead of the continental football body’s elective annual general meeting set for Ethiopia next month.
Caf president Issa Hayatou faces probably the strongest challenge to his leadership when he squares up against Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar.
The letter came in the wake of a successful celebratory party held in Harare on Thursday that was also attended by Fifa president Gianni Infantino and secretary general Fatma Samoura as well as a number of other African football associations’ presidents.
Referenced “Convening of presidents of member associations in Harare, 24 February 2017, the Caf letter, dated 23 February 2017 and penned by the Caf secretary general Hicham El Amrani on behalf of the outgoing Hayatou, claims Caf was formally informed by Fifa that the visit by Infantino was aimed at discussing football development and present Fifa’s development programmes since Zimbabwe was the first stop of Infantino’s African tour.
“At the same time, we were formally informed by Fifa that the visit of the Fifa president to Zimbabwe is aimed at visiting your federation and discuss football development with other stakeholders and present the Fifa development programmes, Zimbabwe being the first stop of an African tour,” wrote El Amrani.
However, Zimbabwe was not the first stop in Africa by Infantino as he was in Swaziland on Thursday where he met His Majesty King Mswati, who also took the occasion to invite the Swiss national to return to the country in future and witness the Ingwenyama Cup.
Caf’s letter to Chiyangwa, which it somehow addressed to him in his capacity as the Cosafa president, was in reply to Chiyangwa’s strongly worded letter to Caf in which he demanded an apology from the continental motherbody on why he should seek authority to hold his birthday celebrations.
“You clearly state that you have convened an “informal” meeting in your personal capacity as Dr Phillip Chiyangwa in Harare, Zimbabwe, on February 24, 2017, such a meeting representing only a celebration of your victory at Cosafa as well as a belated celebration of your birthday.
“Hence, let us at the outset extend a belated birthday wish to you for your birthday on 3 February, and again offer our congratulations on your election as president of Cosafa,” writes El Amrani.
“However, I must advise that we are somewhat surprised at the contents thereof, in that you appear to go to great lengths to advise or attempt to educate me on the provisions of both the Caf statutes and the Fifa regulations. For your information, I am well versed with both documents and always strictly adhere to the provisions of the same.The purpose of our letter to you would appear to have been totally misunderstood by you and this could have arisen as a result of the wrong perception which you seem to create in your own letters, namely your letter addressed to the president of the Football Association of Zambia Mr Andrew Kamanga on your personal letterhead inviting him to celebrate your election as president of Cosafa as well as your birthday, whereas your letter on the same date addressed to the president of the Mali Football Association, uses the Cosafa letterhead, and merely refers to your election and makes no reference to your birthday,” continued the Caf secretary general in his letter.
“Finally, we have noted with much surprise your ambitious wish to have Caf present to you apologies. It would be preferable to think thoroughly about the same prior to writing to Caf. For your information this matter will be tabled on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the Caf executive committee”.