Though he has never backed anyone publicly, it is widely thought FIFA president Gianni Infantino favored Ahmad over the old guard.
Madagascar Football Association’s president Ahmad Ahmad has been elected the new president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), beating long-serving Cameroonian Issa Hayatou in a decisive vote at Caf’s congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
57 yr old Ahmad garnered 34 votes against Hayatou’s 20, effectively ending Hayatou’s long reign.
Issa Hayatou, who has presided over the African football since 1988, was seeking for an eighth term.
The whole exercise went smoothly and after the results were announced Ahmad was over the moon.
“"I can't talk at this time. Only one thing - I thank God, I thank my team"
We worked hard but we won. That was the first step. The second step is to develop African football" he told BBC.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino who is in Addis Ababa witnessed the vote.
Disappointed Hayatou refused to comment on his big defect and immediately left the auditorium after the results were announced.
Hayatou was banking on his experience to win another term, while his younger opponent campaigned on an agenda of “transparency in the management” of CAF and the end of “obsolete practices”.
Though he has never backed anyone publicly, it is widely thought Gianni favored Ahmad over the old guard; this is after he attended Zifa and Cosafa president Dr Philip Chiyangwa’s birthday party in February this year.
Chiyangwa is a strong supporter of Ahmad and openly campaigned against Hayatou.
Hayatou also expressed support for Gianni's challenger, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa during the FIFA presidency elections.
Ahmad will replace Hayatou on Fifa’s governing council and becomes the seventh Caf president in the body's 60-year history.