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Sunday, 22 April 2018

I am a winner because a big country like Egypt believed: New CAF boss Ahmad

Karim Farouk , Friday 17 Mar 2017
New president of the African soccer confederation Ahmad of Madagascar, speaks at a press conference after being chosen at the general assembly of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Thursday, March 16, 2017. (AP Photo)
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Newly elected Confederation of African Football President Ahmad of Madagascar has said the support of Egypt was crucial to his election campaign, which saw out long-reigning president Issa Hayatou on Thursday.

Ahmad won the post in a stunning vote of 34-20 against 70-year-old Cameroonian official Hayatou who had held the job since 1988.

"I am a winner because a big country like Egypt believed. That's why I tell you that I was going to win," Ahmad told Egyptian satellite ON Sport on Thursday night.

"If you ask my team, we expected it because we worked very hard. We – the presidents of the federations – worked as a team and that's our power," he added.

The 57-year old Malagasy gave his first interview standing next to Egyptian Football Association Chairman Hany Abo Rida, who was a key player in Ahmad's winning campaign.

Abo Rida backed Ahmad against his former ally Hayatou after their relations became strained over a legal battle with Egypt's competitions authority earlier this year.

Egypt's government has charged Hayatou of breaching the country's anti-monopoly law in a marketing and television rights deal.

When asked if FIFA president Gianni Infantino supported him, Ahmad said "No no he didn't support me; he has an obligation with his job to be neutral. He congratulated me like a parent because you know the African Confederation is like a child of FIFA. It is like in your house, when your son succeeds you have to congratulate him."

Infantino attended a birthday party last month held by Zimbabwean chief Phillip Chiyangwa, an outspoken critic of Issa Hayatou, which was also attended by Ahmad and other African federation heads.

Hayatou has accused Chiyangwa of using his birthday party to drum up opposition towards him in an attempt to "destabilise" the CAF.

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