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CAN Cameroon 2021: Will Issa Hayatou be present at the opening ceremony?

by Theophile
Issa Hayatou

Barring a last-minute change, Issa Hayatou, a great figure of African king sport was not invited to the opening ceremony of the final phase of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations at the Yaoundé – Olembe omnisport stadium.

Undisputed patron of the governing body of African football from 1988 to March 2017, Issa Hayatou, who also served as FIFA presidency from October 2015 to February 2016, is a respected figure in the king of African sport. 24 hours before the start of the 33rd edition of the CAN in his native Cameroon, the sports leader has not given any news.

According to credible sources, Paul Biya, the Head of State hosting the final phase of the 33rd CAN has invited several personalities for the solemn opening ceremony scheduled for Sunday, January 09, 2022 in the new Olembe stadium. Among the Cameroonian president’s VVIP guests, sources cite presidents Felix Tshisekedi of DR Congo, Roch Marc Kaboré of Burkina Faso, Macky Sall of Senegal …

Among the great banished from this great historical moment, figure Issa Hayatou who led the African Football Confederation for about 30 years. It was also under his reign that Cameroon, his native country, obtained without difficulty in 2014, the organization of its second CAN after that of 1972.

Asked about the reasons for his absence, the former CAF communications director, Junior Biyiam, remained elusive. For him, only Issa Hayatou is able to confirm or deny his presence at the opening ceremony. “I will have a hard time answering for Mr. Hayatou. But you agree that for everything he has given to Cameroonian and African football, this moment should have marked a consecration for him too, “the Cameroonian told RFI.

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He continued: “Unfortunately events have resulted in today being uncertain about his presence or not, but only he can tell you whether he will be there or not. I do not necessarily see him in someone who does not respect court decisions, but I think it is right that Mr. Hayatou has a consecration with the organization of this CAN “.

The one who is recognized as the builder of African football has not been invited by either the Cameroonian Head of State or the African Football Confederation. How weird! Fouzi Lekjaa, the very influential president of the Moroccan football federation, finds it unacceptable that he did not invite any former president of CAF.

The truth is, I’m not even aware of the guest list. And inviting the former presidents of CAF is an imperative, it is a recognition of a history which will serve to build the future “estimated the Moroccan leader in an interview with Rfi.

At the presidency of the Republic of Cameroon, some sources explain that Issa Hayatou, made honorary president of CAF in January 2021, was not invited because he is currently under suspension from all activity related football . Indeed, on August 3, 2021, the adjudicatory chamber of the Fifa Ethics Commission imposed a one-year suspension on the former CAF president due to a contract with Lagardère sports “contrary to competitive principles” ?

But those who regret the fact that Issa Hayatou was not invited believe that Paul Biya could draw inspiration from Vladimir Putin’s “jurisprudence” to extend an invitation to the one who carried the Cameroonian flag for a long time on the international scene.

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Suspended by Fifa from all football-related activities in 2015 for a period of six years, Sepp Blatter, former boss of world football, attended the opening ceremony of the Russia 2018 World Cup at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The sky has not fallen on Russia’s head for this. I think Paul Biya could take it upon himself to invite his illustrious compatriot and even take this opportunity to pay him a heartfelt tribute, “said an influential member of the Cameroonian government who wished to remain anonymous.


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