Cosafa needs to step up

JOHANNESBURG - Now that the Caf elections are over and we have a new-look executive committee, it is now time to start working on changing the face of how things are done on the African continent.

Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad is the man in charge and the entire Cosafa region is upbeat about the prospect of the region that stayed in the shadows of the west and north for decades.

That must change now. We have the political power on our side and of course the economic mighty of Mzansi to drive us to the next level.

As I said, Cosafa has felt short-changed since the rule of Issa Hayatou but with the constituency now enjoying all the powers, I am of the opinion that only the sky is the limit to what we can achieve this side.

Mamelodi Sundowns set the ball rolling last year when they won the African Champions League trophy and followed this up by winning the Super Cup.

Now, apart from the defending champions storming into the groups stages again, the likes of Mozambique’s Ferroviaro form part of the huge Cosafa contingent together with the likes of CAPS United of Zimbabwe and Zanaco of Zambia.

This is the first time that the Cosafa region will be represented by four teams in the group stages of Africa’s principal club competition and we are expecting more.

If one of the clubs can go all the way, this will be a great celebration for the region having secured the first Caf president in the history of the game.

With the political landscape on our side, we now have the political muscle and must surely change the face of this region forever.

Firstly, I would like to think that in a few months to come, Caf must move the political headquarters to Africa’s economic capital of Johannesburg from Cairo.

It makes sense in the fact that, through OR Tambo Airport is where Africa literally meets.

It is from Africa’s busiest airport that people from the continent usually connect to various destinations.

So by bringing the Caf headquarters to Johannesburg, it will only make it easier for the rest of the continent to congregate and deliberate issues easier and quicker.

Even before Hayatou’s final walk of shame from the position he held for close to three decades, several people had suggest moving the Caf headquarters to South Africa and now it seems it is a question of time before that move is implemented.

By so doing Cosafa must raise its hand and ask for more Caf tournaments. Apart from Mzansi, and recently Zambia for the U20 Caf tournament and Angola in 2010, no other country in the region has been afforded the opportunity to host Caf tournaments.

Surely countries like Equatorial Guinea and Gabon can’t have better infrastructure than say Zimbabwe or Mozambique; but that has been Caf’s past bias.

To make sure Cosafa claims its rightful place on the continent, the region needs to head most of the critical committees from finance, competition to media and communication.

By occupying key portfolios, members from the region can be in a position to influence how things are run within the continental body.

This is the time Cosafa take the lead in how things are done in Africa. We have everything going for us and we must seize this opportunity.

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