Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) vice-president Boniface Mwamelo said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the association has resolved to support Hayatou for another four-year term as CAF president after wide consultations both locally and internationally.
Mwamelo said FAZ is hopeful that with Hayatou at the helm of African football, the game will continue to improve on the continent.
“During his (Hayatou’s) tenure, Africa has scored a lot of successes in football but the most notable one is the hosting of the World Cup in 2010.
“The World Cup South Africa hosted was the first one to have ever been hosted on this continent and we believe Hayatou put in a lot of effort together with the host nation for that dream to come true,” Mwamelo said.
Mwamelo said Hayatou has managed to get several sponsors for football despite the harsh economic conditions Africa is facing and it is only fair that he gets another term to continue with his programmes.
He said another value the Cameroonian has brought to football is the introduction of the Championship of African Football (CHAN) tournament, which helps to develop home-based players.
He said FAZ’s support for Hayatou is based on the development of football on the continent which he said had lagged for some time until recently.
“As of now we don’t know any other candidate who has expressed interest in challenging Hayatou but even in the event that someone comes on board to contest, our support will still go to Hayatou because as Zambia we are happy with the way he has run football during his tenure,” Mwamelo said.
Hayatou has been the president of CAF since 1987. In 2002, he ran for president of Fifa but was defeated by current president Sepp Blatter.
Meanwhile, the BBC reports that the Council for East and Central African Football Associations (Cecafa) has also unanimously decided to support Hayatou in his bid to serve another term as president of CAF.
The decision was taken at the Cecafa congress in Uganda on Friday with the body giving Hayatou its backing because of his record so far, particularly in the area of football development.
“We have decided to support Hayatou again come the elections because we think he needs another term to consolidate and finish some of the things he needs to accomplish,” said Sam Nyamweya, president of Football Kenya Federation.
CAF recently adopted controversial new rules that will bar anyone outside the executive committee from contesting the organisation’s presidency.
This means that Jacques Anouma, one of Africa’s representatives on the executive committee of world governing body Fifa, and South Africa’s 2010 World Cup chief Danny Jordaan are ineligible to run for the continent’s top football job.
The controversial amendment states that anyone seeking the presidency must be a voting member of the executive committee.
In September, Anouma called for a strict term limit for the presidency of CAF.
The former president of the Ivory Coast football federation is hoping to become next president of CAF.
Anouma has told the BBC’s World Football show that the game in Africa cannot carry on being “run like a fiefdom controlled by a village chief”.
He wants the next CAF president to serve a maximum of three four-year terms.
Ex-officio members are not directly elected and they do not have any voting rights, although they are allowed to participate in all deliberations.
However, the 58-year-old Ivorian has refused to withdraw from the race.
He says according to article 21 in the CAF statutes, it will take 90 days for the rule to come into force - by which time he will have officially put forward his nomination.