Bility May Be Biting Too Much While CAF Needs Change
Tonte Davies, Telema Davies.
When Musa Bility, President, Liberia Football Association, announced in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation his intent to contest for the top job at FIFA, it was little expected given his popularity metric among fans in Africa and indeed, across the world.
His announcement without a shade of doubt will better serve his political interest and beam the spotlight on his work at the helm of Liberia’s governing body; but it is very unlikely to have a commanding influence on the continent of his birthplace.
While the world and football family in particular, clamour for change at FIFA, Bility’s decision to aspire for Blatter’s seat, throws open the subject: why is no one eager to contest for the exalted job at CAF?
It is common knowledge – and a global one at that – that Issa Hayatou has since 1987 served as president of the Confederation of African Football, and there is no indication that he will vacate the position any time soon. A rather unfortunate political heritage that is doomed to crumble like the biblical wall of Jericho.
One would then wonder why Musa Bility would not take his call for a “unifier” to the corridors of power at CAF rather than seek the now overly publicized office of FIFA president. Africa may need to put forward a representation for candidacy at FIFA, but the change(s) being sought after are needed at the home front.
While offering in to the BBC why he believed Africa needs to have a candidate for the plum job at FIFA, Mr. Bility said: “Africa is the largest voting bloc in FIFA and we must take the lead to bring football together.”
Ordinarily, the size of this voting bloc should make for influence. And it does. Sepp Blatter won his fifth re-election on May 29th with Africa rallying behind him to claim the majority ahead of Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, his closest challenger. Bility would like to see a repeat of such feat for an African.
His foray however, might be considered as jumping into an ocean filled with sharks. And it certainly is likely that even if Bility makes it through, he would be able to canvass that large voting behaviour for his candidacy. So his emergence may prove a deal breaker for his career, but with a Titanic sink in sight.
This is more so since Bility is not so much of a friendly face in the corridors of CAF and with Issa Hayatou. The Liberian gentleman had made an attempt to unseat Hayatou through his fight against the continental governing body’s attempt to change its rules to allow him (Hayatou) to be re-elected unopposed.
On May 2, 2013, CAF banned Musa Bility for six months – who was serving his first term in office – for violating statutes for the use of confidential documents. Hence, there may yet be old wounds not fully healed. Should Mr. Bility be able to canvass support across Africa, it will not be in the majority.
INTO THE SUN
Regardless of Mr. Bility’s peculiar and unsavoury relationship with CAF and president Hayatou, CAF needs a change of direction. Some may argue that, “you can’t fix what is not broken,” while others might point at the ‘changes’ already playing out as a result of continuity, a term Africans are too well familiar with.
The problems of FIFA are more of problems with governing bodies like CAF. Sepp Blatter, in his remarks ahead of his announcement that he was stepping down as president of the world’s governing body, made a call for “deep-rooted structural change,” which idealistically is what is needed at CAF.
Substantial credit should be offered Issa Hayatou for leading African football thus far; but he is not the man to lead the continent into the future. A reform, such as made in Blatter’s remark, is equally required at CAF and should not be guided by the 68-year-old Cameroonian.
Global football economics is evolving, and CAF should not play catch up. Africa should not just tag the role of a kingmaker but a king in its own right. A change in its political paradigm will create an emboldened and independent-driven football organization that can offer to take the lead like its European counterpart.
A recent deal with marketing agency Sportfive might lend confidence to the forthrightness and acumen of Hayatou. However lucrative this deal may seem, it does overshadow real growth potential of football on the continent in the 21st century.
It is only a matter of time before ‘real’ challengers for the most coveted position in African football emerge and steer the rudder of the ship in the direction compliant with the future.
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Article: Bility May Be Biting Too Much While CAF Needs Change.
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