One of the powerbrokers of African football Hany Abu Rida says reports of him contesting incumbent Ahmad Ahmad in the CAF Presidential election next year are 'premature' revealing that his country Egypt supports the Malagasy.
The FIFA Council member revealed his 'deep respect' for Ahmad who has led the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for the past three years after defeating the long standing Issa Hayatou.
Widespread reports in North Africa media last month claimed that the former footballer would contest Ahmad for the leadership position of Africa's football governing body.
Engineer Rida, the former president of the Egypt Football Association (EFA), says Ahmad has gained the support of Egypt thanks to his leadership of CAF which is based in Cairo.
The CAF Executive member, who is well connected among north African football decision makers, says the position of the incumbent Ahmad must be respected.
"Talking about me contesting for presidency of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is a great honor, but it is premature," Abo Rida told OnSport TV on Sunday night.
"There is a current president of CAF and he must be respected, and there is still a whole year remaining to hold the elections.
"Egypt supports Ahmad Ahmad from the reality of the responsibility of the state being the host of the CAF headquarters, and therefore we support him very much. This is important for the state to maintain this position on such matters."
"It is an honor for every Egyptian that Egypt be present on the scene. This is premature talk. There is Ahmed Ahmed, president of the African Union."
Ahmad, who is from Madagascar, took over as the leader of CAF three years ago after defeating Issa Hayatou at the election held in Ethiopia.
His first term will end next year but because of the coronavirus crisis it is not certain if the elections would be held next year.