COSAFA questions awarding of AFCON
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13 April 2017 Author  

Newly elected President of the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA), Philip Chiyangwa, has vowed to fight the decision to hold the next three Africa Cup of Nations finals in francophone West African countries. The Confederation of African Football announced in September 2014 that it had awarded the 2019 tournament to Cameroon, the 2021 finals to Ivory Coast and the 2023 event to Guinea.

“They were politically aggressively awarded to those countries. Only one region is benefiting,” Chiyangwa said.

“There must be an inquiry and we are going to protest.”

Chiyangwa was a key influence in the success of Madagascar FA chief Ahmad, ousting long-time CAF President Issa Hayatou in last month’s elections. Ahmad has shown he is eager to review some of the decisions made by CAF under Hayatou, including the TV rights deal awarded to French broadcaster Lagardere Sports as well as the timing of Nations Cup tournaments.

Chiyangwa questioned why COSAFA had hosted the tournament on fewer occasions than any other zone, despite being the biggest regional block in African football, with 14 member countries.

This, he said, is set to change as the regional grouping seeks to play a leading role in CAF matters, following the election of Ahmed, who ended Hayatou’s nearly three decades at the helm of CAF.

“This is our continent and we have the right to ask questions where we feel that we have been abused. In these circumstances we are questioning the status quo; the locating of all interests in one region,” said Chiyangwa, who is also the President of the Zimbabwe Football Association.

Namibia Football Association (NFA) President, Frans Mbidi, who was part of the COSAFA meeting, told the Windhoek Observer that the new leadership at both COSAFA and CAF will work hand in hand to look into whether there were any irregularities in the awarding of the rights to host the AFCON finals to one region.

“The awarding of the AFCON tournaments was politically motivated. The Southern region has been marginalised in the past when it comes to the awarding of the AFCON tournament, but we are past those days now,” said Mbidi. Meanwhile, COSAFA has confirmed the dates of its regional competitions this year.

The COSAFA Castle Cup will be played in South Africa’s North West province from 25 June to 9 July, while the regional Under-20 competition will be staged from 1-10 December also in South Africa.

Mauritius will host the COSAFA Under-17 Championship from 21-30 July, while the COSAFA Women’s Championship is set to be staged in Zimbabwe from 13-24 September.

– BBC

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