The 35th General Assembly of African soccer’s governing body, CAF, enters the second day in Marrakech, Morocco, on Sunday, with the election of the confederation’s officials, including the president.
Incumbent CAF President, Issa Hayatou, who was first elected to the post also in Morocco 25 years ago, is sure to retain the presidency, because he is the only candidate.
The Court of Arbitration in Sports (CAS) which is based in Switzerland, paved the way for Hayatou to be returned unopposed after ruling last week that his possible opponent, Jacques Anouma of Cote d’Ivoire, was not eligible to contest.
CAS ruled on Tuesday that the CAF Executive Committee had jurisdiction to refuse Anouma’s candidature.
It added that CAF Statutes adopted in September 2012 were applicable in assessing the validity of the candidates in the presidential election.
The ruling also said that Anouma did not meet these criteria because he had never been a member of the CAF Executive Committee.
Last year, CAF confirmed that the 66-year old Hayatou will be unchallenged for re-election.
This followed a controversial amendment that was made to the confederation’s statutes last September, when member nations voted to introduce a measure that will permit only executive committee officials to run for the organisation’s presidency.
Hayatou, who has said this will be his last contest for the CAF presidency, is the fifth CAF president and by far the longest serving.
His predecessors are Ethiopian Ydnekatchew Tessema, who served 15 years, Egyptian Abdel Aziz Moustafa (10 years), Sudanese Abdel Halim Mohammad (5 years) and Egyptian Abdel Aziz Abdallah Salem (1 year).
Apart from the election into the CAF presidency, there will be elections for four executive committee positions, while Algerian Mohamed Raouraoua and Sudanese Magdi Sham El Din have been returned unopposed.
The CAF general assembly had opened on Saturday with a colourful ceremony depicting the diversity of the African continent.
Declaring the congress open, Hayatou said Morocco held special memories because the north African country hosted the congress at which he was elected president for the very first time.
He said the country had been a great, willing and constant supporter of African football for a long time.
Among those who attended the opening were the presidents of the 54 national associations and FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
Blatter hailed Hayatou’s leadership of African football over the last quarter of a century, saying African football has become world famous and made commendable strides during this period.
He also commended Morocco for the continued development of its football infrastructure and recent launching of professional league.
The FIFA President added: “As a result, Morocco will become the first African nation to host FIFA World Club Cup in December this year and that is in recognition of the enormous work Morocco, through the guidance and leadership of King Mohamed VI, has undertaken.”