Johannesburg - The Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) not only wants the continent’s playing fields to be levelled, it also wants to play a leading role in shaping football in Africa.
The region has even mooted the idea of getting two of the nine spots allocated to Africa for the 2026 World Cup. The aim is to have regional play-offs so that each region can be represented at the global event with Cosafa guaranteed two spots.
Cosafa members are patting themselves on the back for bringing change to the CAF leadership after spearheading Ahmad Ahmad’s victory over Issa Hayatou in CAF’s presidential elections last month.
Speaking at a media conference in Johannesburg on Friday, Cosafa president Phillip Chiyangwa said the region had been marginalised for too long and he called for a change in how CAF tournaments were distributed.
With five seats in the CAF executive, including Ahmad’s, who is the president of the Madagascar Football Association, the region feels its voice should be heard.
With 14 members, Cosafa is the biggest zone in CAF and believes it should have the lion’s share of all continental competitions.
Chiyangwa said the region has to take its rightful position in continental football as a major roleplayer and feels that the region has been treated unfairly when it comes to the awarding of tournaments.
CAF recently took away the hosting rights for the Under-17 tournament from Madagascar and gave them to Gabon after Ahmad challenged Hayatou for the presidency.
Since 2015, the Africa Cup of Nations tournaments have been staged in west Africa, with Equatorial Guinea and Gabon hosting the 2015 and 2017 editions respectively. The next three editions are also going to the west, with Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Guinea poised to host the 2019, 2021 and 2023 tournaments.
Commission of enquiry
“Tournaments have been politically awarded by individuals, with one region benefiting...this cannot go unchallenged,” said Chiyangwa.
“The reason we wanted change was to unlock the value and opportunities that have been dashed for a long time. We must start locating all interests in our region.
“One of the reasons our region does not have many players abroad is because our players were forever playing away from [the gaze of] sponsors and opportunities.
“We need to protest some of the decisions, even if it means having a commission of enquiry.”
South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan said Cosafa wanted to explore the option of distributing Africa’s nine Fifa World Cup places on a zonal basis.