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Southern African nations endorse challenger in upcoming CAF elections

FIFA Council Meeting - Part I

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - OCTOBER 13: FIFA Senior Vice President Issa Hayatou sits in the lobby during part I of the FIFA Council Meeting 2016 at the FIFA headquarters on October 13, 2016 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)

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COSAFA, the 14 nation confederacy encompassing southern Africa, announced its unanimous support for challenger Ahmad Ahmad in the upcoming CAF presidential elections in March.

Current CAF president Issa Hayatou (pictured), who filled in as FIFA president in the immediate aftermath of Sepp Blatter’s ban and before the election of Gianni Infantino, has been in charge since his election in 1988 following the death of Yidnekatchew Tessema. He is seeking an eighth elected term.

Ahmad is the current head of the Madagascar FA, and announced last month he intended to run in the upcoming election.

Hayatou, at 70 years old, had planned to step down after this term due to CAF regulations that barred officials from holding office past 70, but with those regulations struck down in 2015, he changed his mind.

The announcement by COSAFA puts pressure on Hayatou, who now must find support elsewhere in the continent. However, it’s not terribly surprising, given that Madagascar is a member of COSAFA. Ahmad is not on the COSAFA executive committee, which is headed by Zimbabwe FA president Philip Chiyangwa.

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