Today 24 June actually marks 100 days exactly since Ahmad came into office as the 7th President of CAF.
It was on 16 March that history was made, when Ahmad overcame all odds and ended the 29-year stranglehold of Issa Hayatou and became the head of African football.
It has been an interesting 100 days but it has been business as usual for the unassuming gentleman from Madagascar who is taking to his new role rather calmly but with his eyes wide open.
Many might be expecting a flurry of activity in these last 100 days. Given the acrimony surrounding the elections, the bitterness and hard-hitting elements and people, many would have expected big radical changes to set in as soon as the Malagasy chief took office.
It has not been unknown in the past that new leaders come in to a system and flush out the staff and personnel who are known to have been loyal to the old order. In FIFA, heads rolled within weeks of Gianni Infantino assuming office as FIFA President. Even Donald Trump came in and personnel changed drastically. It is the norm globally.
But in CAF, apart from the resignation of General Secretary Hicham el-Amrani, nothing seems to have changed; and it has been business as usual. CAF has since organized a successful U17 Cup of Nations, which was hitch-free. There has been one Executive Committee meeting and a General Assembly in the run-up to the FIFA Congress in Bahrain.
It is a sign of the man that Africa has chosen to be at the helm – Ahmad. His actions just typify the person that he is – calm. He is soft-spoken, looks calm, and really is calm but alert.
He is faced with a lot of pressure from all quarters – people expecting him to make big changes and wield big sticks. And the big stick might still come; but it will be at Ahmad’s pace, in Ahmad’s own time, and not bowing to the pressure of people or events.
It has certainly been an intriguing 100 days in office for Ahmad.
His focus has been on building a lasting legacy for African football. Maybe he might restructure the Secretariat of CAF – and it does need restructuring (a new General Secretary, perhaps…..maybe a few changes in the Secretariat set-up). But for now, his primary focus is on this symposium on the future of African football, scheduled to take place in Rabat, Morocco in the coming month.
This symposium is one of the points he promised in his manifesto – to engage every stakeholder on how to chart the future of the game. And he seems determined not to do anything until he has heard from everyone.
So….all roads lead to Rabat on 16 July, where all bigwigs will attend this big event to talk about the big points of our big game.
And give Ahmad the President, a lot to work on in his next 100 days and beyond.
For now, it has been 100 days of change, of calmness, of peace and quiet, and of adjustment. The future for Africa is bright.
written by ‘Tunde Adelakun