Not much is known about the new Caf president Ahmad outside of his native Madagascar, but he now holds the most powerful seat on the continent after ousting Issa Hayatou on Thursday.
Ahmad, who goes by just one name, stunned his rival 34-20 in the vote to end the 29-year reign of the Cameroonian.
“With much emotion. I thank all those who have believed in the change. Thanks to you who were always behind me. We have done it. This victory is ours. This is a victory for Africa,” Ahmad posted on his Facebook page shortly after being voted in.
Ahmad had promised an increase in financial support for African associations, business class travel to future Congress for all delegates and to be more open to suggestions from member associations.
He gave a rousing speech before the voting while Hayatou did not take up the opportunity to address the Congress before the lengthy voting process began.
Ahmad, previously minister of sport and minister of fisheries in his home country, had been given little chance just a month ago when he announced his candidacy but offered voters a fresh face to a younger generation of football association presidents.
The 57-year-old Ahmad has been Madagascar Football Association head since 2003 and was a surprise pick for the Caf Executive Committee four years ago, defeating Danny Jordaan.
He received the backing of the Cosafa region and their flamboyant president Phillip Chiyangwa, and although he did not publicly say it, also the tacit backing of Fifa president Giovanni Infantino. “I’m not a candidate who will serve his personal interests,” Ahmad said in a statement before the voting at a congress in Ethiopia took place, according to the News Agency of Nigeria. “African football cannot be managed by bandits,”
He said: “I will reorganise Caf’s financial sector to make it accessible to all sectors and areas. Five million dollars, or 50 per cent of earnings from Fifa, will go to African federations.”
Ahmad, 57, who is into his third term as Madagascar FA president, had said in an earlier interview with the BBC that Mr. Hayatou had done all he could for Caf.
Meanwhile, South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan won a seat in the Caf executive with 35 votes after he said he’d strategically pulled out of running for a similar position for Fifa last week so he could focus on winning what is now his new role within Africa’s governing body.–Kickoff/.iol.co.za