ZIFA and COSAFA president Philip Chiyangwa has admitted his controversial birthday party which was graced by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and a handful fellow national football association heads was a platform to plot ousted CAF president Issa Hayatou’s defeat.
Chiyangwa put his head on the block last month by rallying the 14 nation COSAFA behind Madagascar football association chief Ahmad Ahmad’s candidature.
He became Ahmad’s campaign manager.
Chiyangwa went further to invite African heads of football associations to his high profile birthday party in Harare February which was also graced by FIFA secretary general Fatma Samba Diuf Samoura.
In that, the property tycoon ignored warnings by Hayatou’s executive not to convene a gathering that CAF suspected was meant to discuss African football matters.
Chamu Chiwanza, who headed the birthday party’s organising committee, told the media then that the bash was distant from any alleged gathering to plot Hayatou’s ouster.
But soon after his return from Ethiopia, the scene for Hayatou’s spectacular fall, Chiyangwa finally admitted it was during the party that the ouster plot was crafted.
“We were sitting there, the council for removing Hayatou is what you saw at the birthday party,” Chiyangwa said.
“Those were the architects that determined to remove him.
“I was holding 14 votes. I am the biggest confederation on the African continent, I am the biggest controlling unit and that is why I put the person there.”
Chiyangwa sounded relieved his gamble paid off, saying if it had not, Hayatou would have come down heavily on him.
“The victory that has been achieved so far was my own art, and that’s particular artistry is now what we find going forward.
“…The emperor would have come after me isn’t it. So because I have achieved this victory, it means I am liberated and I have liberated many people who saw this person as biased, inept and very difficult to work with.
“So I have totally silenced this guy. I challenged not only one person, but the entire executive.”
Ahmad won the CAF election by 34 votes against Hayatou’s 20 to end the Cameroonian’s 29 year reign on African football.