By Mark Gleeson
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) Congress is to choose its candidates for the all-powerful 25-man cabinet of world soccer’s ruling body.
Tunisian Tarek Bouchamaoui and Constant Omari Selemani of the Democratic Republic of Congo are favoured to finish top in the ballot and look likely to sweep Ivorian Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast from the committee where he has served for eight years. Delegates from 54 countries are also being asked to remove an age limit from the organisation’s statutes in order to allow CAF president Issa Hayatou to stay in power beyond the end of his existing term. CAF requires officials who reach 70 to step down but a proposal to scrap the rule is expected to go through.
It would open the door for Cameroon-born Hayatou, who is 68 and in his seventh term in power, to continue his leadership of African football beyond his current mandate which is due to end in 2017.
Anouma was previously a potential rival for the leadership of CAF but is now expected to join the list of Hayatou challengers who have been squeezed out of football politics. Algerian FA president Mohamed Raouraoua, who once expressed an interest in taking over CAF’s top job, has withdrawn from the elections and loses his place in a dramatic fall from grace.
Raouraoua was elected as one of Africa’s four representatives four years ago but has since lost Hayatou’s support and decided in January to pull out of a re-election bid.
The 54 delegates are also due to vote in Cairo to formalise rules on future elections.
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From 2017 Africa will reserve one seat for the CAF president, one for a French speaker, one for a candidate from an English speaking country and one to be shared among the Arab-speaking and Portuguese-speaking countries.
The pair elected on Tuesday will serve for two years and then have to stand again. (Reuters)