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Africa giants Nigeria back challenger to unseat CAF president Hayatou

Published on: 21 February 2017
Africa giants Nigeria back challenger to unseat CAF president Hayatou
Pinnick says Nigeria is behind the campaign to unseat Hayatou

In what is the biggest endorsement yet for Ahmad Ahmad, Nigeria's Football Federation is backing the challenger to unseat the long-serving President of the Confederation of African Football, Issa Hayatou next month.

Mr Hayatou is standing for an 8th successive term of office, but faces opposition from Ahmad Ahmad, the head of Madagascar's FA.

Ahmad has secured one of the most important backing on the continent after the giants Nigeria threw their weight the Madagascan to remove Hayatou from office.

Amaju Pinnick, president of the NFF, told the BBC the election will be "a defining moment for African football".

He said Ahmad was "courageous" in coming forward to challenge Mr Hayatou.

Pinnick said CAF needs a "new generation" of leadership, following the change at the top of the world governing body Fifa.

He cited "post election differences between Gianni [Infantino, the new Fifa president] and Issa Hayatou which are irreconcilable".

Infantino will be in Johannesburg later on Tuesday for a gathering of football federation leaders from across the continent.

He is then due to visit Zimbabwe at the invitation of the head of the southern African confederation, Cosafa - which also backs Ahmad.

Pinnick acknowledged that Hayatou could still win - but said if he did, the veteran Cameroonian would need to be open to different influences.

"You have to listen to a larger audience instead of just a tiny cabal, you have to know it goes beyond you," Pinnick said.

"I will definitely work with him if he wins but my prayer is we need a bridge builder and that person is Ahmad."

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