Yesterday, former CAF General Secretary (GS) Amr Fahmy announced his intention to vie for the Presidency of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) upon the expiry of the term of current President, the Malagasy Ahmad Ahmad Darw.
Amr Fahmy was unceremoniously sacked by Ahmad earlier 2019 when he filed a dossier against Ahmad with the FIFA Ethics committee which detailed large scale financial misappropriation of funds and the sexual harassment and assault of female employees at CAF.
Speaking to French paper BOTOLA, Amr insists that he has been spurred into action by the dilly-dalliance on his complaint by the FIFA Ethics committee despite the tongue-in-cheek assertions by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, of FIFA’s new and better Governance and Ethics structures.
The feeling of despondency was further entrenched by the decision for the hostile takeover of CAF by FIFA and the installation of Fatma Samoura as General Delegate despite it being an open secret that Fatma and Ahmad have had an intimate personal relationship for years since their days in Madagascar.
Amr feels that the on-going accumulation of scandals during the takeover and the inability of CAF to properly manage its own competitions were the straw that broke the camel’s back and prodded him into taking this momentous decision.
The name Fahmy has been synonymous with CAF since its inception in 1957 when Amr’s grandfather Mourad Fahmy took over as GS in 1961 and held the position until 1982, a year preceding his untimely death in Abidjan in 1983 where he had gone to attend a meeting.
Mourad Fahmy had been a founding member of CAF in Kahrtoum in 1957, a former player for Egyptian giants Al Ahly and Minister for Agriculture for his country.
Amr’s own father Mustapha Fahmy then took over the role of GS for CAF from 1982 and held it all the way to 2010 (28 years) before retiring and paving way for Moroccan Hicham El Amrani.
Amr Fahmy then took over in 2017 following the resignation of Hicham El Amrani after the removal of long-serving President Issa Hayatou from office in March 2017.
In the short span of 2 years, Ahmad has systematically lowered the bar of leadership at CAF to the extent that there is a general feeling that just about anyone else, would be better placed to manage the affairs of the CAF.
A similar scenario currently plays out in the United States where the current President Donald J Trump has made the entire country a butt of jokes in international circles to the point that the opposition Democratic party field of candidates seeking nomination for the 2020 Presidential election has ballooned to more than 10 candidates, with the latest entrant being the former New York Mayor and self-made Billionaire, Michael Bloomberg.
Just last week, the CAF Exco met in Cairo to pass a raft of decisions in what was reportedly a low-key and humiliatingly humble assembly of the top voted officials from the African continent, who dutifully (and out of the need for self-preservation) did as was expected of them.
The field of contenders for the CAF Presidency continues to expand, with rumours now indicating that FIFA President Gianni Infantino has ear-marked either Senegalese Augustin Senghor or Mauritanian Ahmed Yahya for the top seat during the elective congress of 2021.
Needless to say, even Ahmad was going to have a tough time simply pushing aside the Fahmy name from the annals of African Football history and in an interview with an Egyptian newspaper said;
“I had no problem with the former secretary-general, but many in CAF did not like Fahmy. Personally, I wanted his father, Mustafa Fahmy, to be the secretary general, but he had worked a lot with Hayatou, and it was (therefore) impossible”.
Ahmad continued, “Amr Fahmy studied sports and his father was helping him and give him his experience. But before everyone’s eyes, Amr offended his father and told him he knew nothing. I personally then told Amr he could go anywhere (nowhere) in the world if he cannot control his anger. I warned him more than once before I decided he had to leave”.
Amr, 36, a passionate football lover and follower of Egyptian giants Al Ahly, took part in the FIFA Master program in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport, where he undertook courses on the campuses of the Universities of Neuchâtel in Switzerland, Bocconi in Italy and De Montfort in the United Kingdom.
He also served with France-based Lagardère Sports as Director of Operations for Africa, and also previously worked with the CAF Competitions Division between 2007 and 2015. Prior to his departure in August 2015, he was the Tournament Director for the flagship competition, Africa Cup of Nations.
Questions abound, as to allegations that Amr did not complete his FIFA Master education despite beginning it, and comments from his own tutors about the reasons why he did not complete the course will continue to haunt him in the same vein.
In CAF he was acknowledged as an asset for his multi-lingualism in English, French and Arabic and the ability to tap into his father’s extensive 28-year experience in the same position for CAF.
However, in July this year, CAF President Ahmad sent a letter to Amr’s father Moustapha clearly denying him an opportunity to be part of the General Assembly as an Honorary Member of the Confederation, which was held in Cairo on the sidelines of the AFCON 2019.
Moustapha justifiably felt that Ahmad had arrogated himself powers beyond those granted by the CAF statutes to deny or limit honorary members a right to get inside the congress, despite their inability to vote on the agenda items and therefore not being a political threat.
He feels that Ahmad was shutting down any known or potential dissent to his trademark shambolic running of the affairs of CAF.
Responding to an accusation by Ahmad of abdicating his duty as an adviser of CAF, Moustapha went on to refresh Ahmad’s memory of the work that he done to bring to life the proposals for an expanded AFCON but also warned Ahmad of the danger of voting for the expanded Club World Cup noting that;
“Danger of creating the World Cup of clubs scheduled to compete in odd years and who will kill the CAN (AFCON) in the summer. Because it will be shifted between mid-July and mid-August, and European clubs will not release our players. I have not been heard and you blindly followed the FIFA President and the CAN may not be contested in odd years when the World Club Cup will be contested a few weeks before”.
Apparently too, Moustapha had attempted to ease tensions between his son Amr (CAF GS) and his two deputies at the time (Anthony Baffoe and Essadik Alaoui) and while he appeared to have succeeded somewhat, he accused Ahmad of sidelining Amr when he became unwell and went away to undergo major surgery.
Moustapha refutes the assertion made by Ahmad that CAF paid $100,000 for the operation and treatment for his son Amr, and that instead, Ahmad moved to undermine him by creating the position of CAF General Coordinator into which the current GS the Moroccan Mouad Hajji, swiftly slid into.
However, Amr Fahmy will continue remain in the minds and hearts of African football for his courage and decisiveness in forwarding an entire dossier to FIFA Ethics committee and let history be the judge.
Former @CAF_Online General Secretary Amr Fahmy has announced that he will vie to be CAF President in the next elections scheduled for 2021. pic.twitter.com/HlRWiGyY8u
— FIFA Colonialism Website (@FIFAColonialism) December 4, 2019
We need president from a country that are known with transparency, SWEDEN, FINLAND..