When a Hyena wants to eat its own children, it starts by accusing them of smelling like goats – African Proverb.
It is now silly season at CAF, a time of unprecedented upheaval and carnage within the organization that has effectively been taken over by FIFA in an attempt to shield its President Ahmad Ahmad from prosecution or removal from office due to high crimes.
These crimes are financial misappropriation, sexual harassment & assault on CAF employees. Despite the disgusting nature of these well-documented crimes, Ahmad remains perched at the helm of CAF under the protection of FIFA President Gianni Infantino and his marionettes at the FIFA Ethics committee.
Unfortunately, and as opined here on these pages often, the situation at CAF remains extremely fluid, and when the dust finally settles, no one will be where they imagine themselves to be today.
We saw a small example of this eventuality on this last week when Djibouti FA President and head of the powerful CAF Referees committee Souleiman Hassan Waberi, uncharacteristically wrote a protest letter to CAF President Ahmad complaining bitterly about being sidelined and undermined in his role as Referees boss in Africa.
This entire fiasco began after CAF circulated a draft agenda for its next full CAF Exco meeting scheduled for 21st November in Cairo along the sidelines of the on-going Under-23 AFCON cum Olympics qualifiers.
Apparently, the agenda included an item which Waberi construed to imply that certain decisions regarding Referees reform had been arrived at internally in CAF to the exclusion of his committee.
“…in its point No. 7… a draft of the reform of the refereeing…”
“I wanted to draw your attention that up to now, the CAF Referee committee, which in statutorily responsible for all refereeing-related matters, nor myself who is the President, have been by far been associated with the development or design of such a design project…”
He goes on to add that this has been despite his presence in Cairo since 5th November 2019.
Waberi is quite right in his gripe at CAF for going over his head and making such recommendations for the consideration of the CAF Exco in which he also sits, without his input or recommendations.
In actual fact, he should have been the one to table the recommendations for reform at the Exco.
We understand his shock and consternation at all this, and acknowledge that it must take someone who is totally depraved, ruthless or both to prescribe these recommendations while Waberi is present in Cairo for almost two weeks.
Waberi, like a moth to the flame, was even sucked into accompanying CAF President and FIFA SG (CAF Special Delegate) Fatma Samoura to South Sudan to see for themselves the massive steps taken by the SSFA in development.
Waberi did not understand the irony of it all, that he would be invited to accompany the CAF President to visit another member FA of CECAFA (The Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations) where the FA President Francis Paul has done a remarkable job with his share of the FIFA Forward grants in putting down a proper sports facility.
Remember, South Sudan is the youngest Nation in the World and newest member of the United Nations.
However, since the election of Francis Paul as SSFA President to replace the kleptomaniacal Chabur Goc, we have witnessed transformational work done by the FA from leagues, referees, infrastructure and women’s football.
Remember too, that South Sudan faces a perpetual armed conflict with many ceasefire agreements coming a cropper since the collapse of the unity Government of President Salva Kiir and his Deputy Riek Machar.
It is in this turbulent country that Waberi was allowed to accompany Ahmad, to see for himself what can be done even in a war-torn Nation with prudent use of FIFA and CAF resources.
Waberi, however, has been a crucial figure in CECAFA and CAF politics for Ahmad, and has acted as his official chief whip in the 12-member region.
The CECAFA region comprises Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, South Sudan and Zanzibar. It is the oldest regional football body having started modestly in 1927.
Souleiman Waberi therefore has been a key cog for Ahmad both on the ground in CECAFA and also within the CAF Exco where he is known for his blind loyalty to Ahmad, to the detriment of all else.
It is for this reason that he felt inclined to write this protest letter to Ahmad last week to convey his frustration and angst at the shoddy treatment he was getting despite his valiant efforts to ring-fence Ahmad and his mid-deeds in the region.
Ominously, he also sent what can only have been a warning salvo, when he says in the letter, “already I inform the President and members of the Exco of the CAF, that I will leave the Presidency of the Referees committee if this project of the reform does not go through the legal procedure to arrive on the table of the Exco… it is inconceivable that the future of our refereeing much less that of our football is treated this way…”
Déjà vu, this is the exact same thing that Musa Hassan Bility has been saying about the governance of football in CAF and especially by the chaotic Ahmad Ahmad.
In a letter dated 1 February 2019, Bility said he was standing down as a member of the Emergency Committee and president of the CHAN (African Nations Championship) Standing Committees.
“I can no longer summon the courage to work in these posts at the whims and caprices of the president who I believe is leading this noble organization in the wrong direction,
Ahmad never forgave Bility for this full frontal attack, especially not with such succinct truth and force of character. He had always taken all the members of his Exco to be yellow-belly cowards, capable of being bought or mind-controlled.
Souleiman Waberi somehow imagined that his close proximity to Ahmad, somehow placed him above this kind of treatment. The signs had always been there, about what the real bosses at CAF thought of him and his committee, he was just too much stupid to acknowledge it to himself and his committee.
We all remember how the then CAF 3rd VP and Chairman of the Finance Committee Fouzi Lekjaa assaulted Ethiopian Referee Bamlak Tessema during the Confederations Cup final between Zamalek (Egypt) and RS Berkane (Morocco).
Only the Ethiopian Football Federation appeared enraged enough with this action to issue a statement in support of its countryman.
The Referees committee was exceptionally quiet and docile in the face of such an assault. We postulate that this would have been the best time for Souleiman Waberi to resign especially when it became clear that the Referee was being intimidated to withdraw his complaint.
But Souleiman Waberi has been benefiting greatly from his time in the CAF Exco and his position in the Referees committee, to want to rock the boat.
We understand that the Tunisian FA and its President Warid Jarii have extended massive support to Waberi in return for favorable allocation of referees for the National team and continental club fixtures.
These benefits include the fully paid University scholarship in Tunis granted through the Tunisia FA to his daughter.
Very recently, Waberi’s daughter was unwell and her father travelled to Tunis to visit her. He spent 8 days in Tunis and was booked in at the Four Seasons Hotel at the expense of the Tunisia FA.
Waberi was also a key mobiliser for members of the “Muslim Brotherhood” inside CAF that came into notoriety in 2018 when they were ferried on an all-expense paid pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Ahmad using CAF resources.
Within CECAFA, Djibouti is a gross under-performer and does not look likely to make any major moves with the CAF and FIFA grants at its disposal. This marks it out as one of the voting robots for purchase by football stakeholders…
We have discovered that FIFA has been feeling the heat from multiple quarters about its decision to meddle directly in African football affairs, and that at the end of the tenure of FIFA Special Delegate to CAF Fatma Samoura, the body politick of FIFA will expect to see some credible and audacious moves to justify the hostile takeover.
In order to start laying the groundwork for these moves, FIFA has started to propose radical changes in personnel and committees.
One of the key committees targeted for complete overhaul is the Referee’s committees with its Chairman Souleiman Waberi.
Elsewhere, FIFA are already priming Senegal FA President Augustin Senghor to take over the Presidency of CAF at the end of the tenure of Ahmad Ahmad. Note carefully that Senghor is from the same country that Fatma Samoura comes from and this preference baffles even the most ardent optimists in CAF.
FIFA has also not forgotten the need to drain the swamp in the African representatives at the FIFA Council, especially with the underwhelming performance of the latest entrant to the Council, Malawi FA President Walter Nyamilandu.
Targeted for ejection, Nyamilandu would be replaced by fellow Anglophone and Uganda FA President Moses Magogo in a move also meant to shift the balance of power within the CECAFA region from the underwhelming Souleiman Waberi.
Already, investigations have quietly begun regarding complaints that Nyamilandu has been using his position on the FIFA Council to solicit votes for the Malawi FA elections scheduled for December 14th 2019.
This kind of solicitation of votes normally places FIFA in a very awkward situation of being beholden (by proxy) to football Governors in those countries when they re-elect the incumbent who may also sit on the Council.
Case in point, Limbani Matola (Commercial and Marketing Director at FAM) was appointed as the Marketing Venue Manager for the FIFA U-20 World Cup to be held in Poland from 23 May to 15 June 2019 in one of the first acts of clear nepotism by Walter Nyamilandu in his position of FIFA Council member.
It is these issues that have accompanied Nyamilandu to the FIFA Council that have caused various Council members to complain about just how low the bar has been lowered in the Council.
Nyamilandu was elected in September 2018 to replace Ghanian Kwesi Nyantakyi who had been forced to resign following an expose that caught him receiving bribes from fake Arab sheikhs in a media sting operation.
The clear and over-qualified favorite for the post was South African Dr. Danny Jordaan who had previously been the CEO to the FIFA World Cup 2010 Local Organizing committee (LOC).
Unfortunately, for being forthright and stating that he would not vote in support of the Morocco 2026 World Cup bid, he had a target on his back and Ahmad alongside Fouzi Lekjaa spared no expense to ensure that Walter Nyamilandu was voted onto the council.
This was Ahmad’s big “fuck-you” to the other members of the Council to bring them the least qualified and poorest performing FA President.
Now FIFA want Nyamilandu and Waberi out within the shortest time and by any means necessary, in anticipation of the post-Ahmad transition and to placate various interest groups both on the continent and elsewhere.
These two gentlemen will soon understand the ruthlessness of FIFA President Gianni Infantino and his desire to maintain an iron grip on the African vote.