CAF changes stir calls for new football officials in Somalia

Published March 23rd, 2017 - 01:10 GMT
Somali Football Federation logo
Somali Football Federation logo

A new dawn in African football was ushered on Thursday when the reign of Issa Hayatou 29 years as the Confederation of African Football President was ended when he was defeated at the ballot box by Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar.

With the end of Issa Hayatou's era in Africa and previously end of FIFA President Joseph Baltter ended in 2015 football fans in Somalia are now seeking fresh faces in the Somalia Football Federation.

Somalia Football Federation been almost synonymous to on Abdiqani Said Arab who has been at the helm of the organization for 20 years now.

Some officials however think its time new blood take over the management of football in Somalia

"I understand that Abdigani is seeking another term as the President. But if we have same officials for a long period of time football in this country is likely to suffer from corruption" Adaney Abdi a football coach told Radio Dalsan

Indeed the federation has in the past been accused of being corrupt although non of the officials have been prosecuted nor evidence of alleged corruption

In reality Somalia football has seen a remarkable growth in the last five years with its league becoming popular to local football fans and attracting international players from East , Central and West Africa

Fifa has sponsored coaching and refereeing clinics and funded stadium renovations.

But critics say the success seemed to have overshadowed cases of fraud allegedly going on within the Abdigani led federation

" No doubt that we have seen development in football lately but corruption is going to take us back. Corruption exists in the federation. A good example is the Goal Project" Abdi said

It is alleged by Abdigani´s critics that he has shares in 10 league teams almost half of the 26 football teams in the Somali League.

"Having control of all those football teams means he is likely to retain his reign as President of SFF. He has a lot of influence" an ex SFF official told Radio.

His critics claim that his survival tactics to lengthen his tenure at SFF has been to assume different titles that in the last 20yrs has included General Secretary , Executive Board member , President and Chairman

Recently Sports ministries in Jubaland and Puntland have accused the SFF President of being in favor of certain regions. They feel all regions should be given an equal opportunity in representing the country in international outings.

He won the same way in the last election. He will win again same way" Shamso Abdi a basketball player said

Efforts by Radio Dalsan to get a response from the SFF and its President have remained fruitless as calls and emails have remained unanswered

Amidst all these allegations Abdigani´s star has been on the rise and was last year appointed the CECAFA Vice President an achievement for a country that whose sporting prowess was shuttered by two decades of civil war.

© 2019 AllAfrica Global Media.

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