There are no immediate plans to scrap the African Nations Championship (Chan) despite its lack of appeal among some coaches and players.
The tournament, primarily aimed to serve as a development vehicle for players based on the continent, has proved to be a headache for most coaches as it does not fall within the Fifa calendar.
As such clubs, especially those on the continent, are not obliged to release players; this has left coaches scratching all over to find players.
According to Super sport, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Ahmad Ahmad, in his first visit to SA, said the tournament would continue to feature on the Caf calendar.
Ahmad reported to have said that, while there were some reservations about the Cosafa and Chan tournaments, these competitions were critical in developing the game on the African continent. He said instead of doing away with these tournaments, the issue which African football leaders should grapple with is how to consolidate those regional tournaments.
“Africa is a huge continent and as such regional tournaments play a vital role in the development of the game in Africa. And it is on this scope that that I should praise Cosafa for managing to have these various tournaments annually. It is not easy but we should just find a way to better organise and run them.”
The next Chan tournament is scheduled for Kenya next year but there are serious concerns around facilities and the readiness of the east African country to host.
“We did send a powerful inspection team (to Kenya). And at the moment the reality is that they are not ready. The same way we don’t want politics to interfere with football, we don’t want football to interfere with politics. Our delegation is talking to the government as you know there will be presidential elections in August. They asked us to give them until the end of August when they will give us their action plan.”
“After that we will sit down to take a decision whether we will have it in Kenya or not. The tournament will take place at the indicated dates in proper conditions, with infrastructure that Africa will be proud of. That I can assure you of,” said Ahmad.
Asked to comment on his success as Caf president thus far, Ahmad said “there are many” without giving any specifics. He took over from long-time African football head IssaHayatou in March. But Ahmad admitted that he took over an organisation in need of deep reform. “But it’s not in my nature to expose things that are not working,” he said.
The Caf president said he was impressed by the Safa House, describing it as a world-class organization, which other African countries must emulate.
During the visit in SA, Ahmad touched on several issues but said the upcoming Caf Symposium in Morocco should form the continental blueprint going forward.
“We have invited all stakeholders of the game including coaches and club owners; this symposium should give us a direction on the way forward,” he said.
The Caf President said that, while there has been lots of talk that Caf should move its headquarters to South Africa from Egypt, he said this was not part of his agenda during his campaign.
He said he has not found out what reasons the founding fathers of Caf, of which South Africa was part, arrived at for having the headquarters in Cairo, but one reason is that Egyptian civilization helped this great African continent.
“The reasons for taking the Caf HQ to Egypt were taken by the pioneers of African football and they decided to have it in ancient Egypt. I don’t see the reason for taking away the Caf HQ from Egypt,” he said.