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Sports News of Saturday, 6 July 2019

Source: GHANAsoccernet.com

CAF General Secretary hails FIFA chief Samoura role in African football reforms as 'great opportunity'

The General Secretary of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Mouad Hajji, has strongly defended the decision to appoint Fatma Samoura as 'Fifa General Delegate for Africa' insisting its a 'great opportunity' for African football to improve its governance structures.

CAF approached football's world governing body FIFA last month to help the beleaguered body improve its administration after coming under scrutiny on several issues relating to both governance and administration.

FIFA subsequently appointed its secretary general Samoura to take charge of the committee to be put in place to help Africa's governing body to conduct a review of its systems for implementation.

Samoura, from Senegal, will take charge for six months from 1 August, with the relationship "renewable with the agreement of both organisations".

The 56-year-old will remain secretary general of Fifa but will delegate various functions to others but her appointment has been criticised in certain quarters with claims that the move is ceding control of African football to Europeans.

However, Hajji told a press conference in Egypt on Friday that the Samoura-led body will conduct the review needed to put African football in a sound footing for the future.

"The arrival of Samoura is a great opportunity. She arrives with a group of experts and their role will help accelerate the reforms within CAF," Hajji said at the press conference on Friday.

CAF President Ahmad proposed the idea of seeking Fifa's expertise to help assess CAF's current situation and speed up reforms aimed at ensuring the organisation operates with "transparency and efficiency".

The notion was unanimously approved by CAF's executive committee, and Samoura and a group of experts will work in tandem with Ahmad and his team to cover a number of areas, in an agreement that can be renewed with the agreement of both parties.

These areas include overseeing operational management of CAF, ensuring the "efficient and professional organisation of all CAF competitions", and supporting the growth and development of football in all African regions.

Samoura, a Senegalese former diplomat, will remain as secretary general of Fifa but will delegate her functions within the administration, according to a joint statement from Fifa and CAF.

African football's leading club competition was thrown into disarray in the run-up to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after the announcement that its showpiece game will have to be replayed.

CAF said that the Champions League final between Tunisian giants Esperance de Tunis and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco would be replayed at a neutral venue after the Cup of Nations, which runs from June 21 to July 19.