CAF’s Secretary-General resigns

March 26, 2017 Articles Leave a comment

Hicham El Amrani, Secretary-General of the Confederation of African Football, (CAF) handed in his resignation on Sunday.  “It is with great regret that I hereby inform you that I am leaving today my position of CAF Secretary General, after 8 years spent within the Confederation of African Football,” the 37-year-old Amrani wrote in an email […]

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Hayatou falls, Ahmad wins. But what comes next?

March 17, 2017 Articles Leave a comment

When a leader refuses to bow out honourably, after 29 years in office – even when the handwriting, to depart, is clearly on the wall – he will be humiliated out. The election defeat I witnessed, at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa – by an unexpected margin of 14 votes (34 […]

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Au Revoir, Monsieur Hayatou?

February 20, 2017 Articles Leave a comment

For the last 29 years, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has been led – some would insist on the words ‘ruled with an iron fist’ – by one man, Issa Hayatou – but for how much longer? With a combination of guile, sagacity and ruthlessness that Vito Corleone, ‘The Godfather’ in the Mario Puzo […]

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Cameroon have won the Nations Cup. But…

February 13, 2017 Articles Leave a comment

When seven of Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions, all featuring for European clubs, were unwilling to play at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, it didn’t leave new manager Hugo Broos in the most fortuitous position. Compelled to forge together a team of younger, less experienced players, the Belgian had to made lemonade with the fresh lemons. But […]

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FIFA, racism and me

February 11, 2017 Articles Leave a comment

FIFA’s decision, that they had enough of the Anti-Racism Task Force – set up to help excise a cancerous scourge on the game – came to me as a run-of-the-mill e-mail on Friday, the 23rd of September 2016. There was nothing special about that evening, as I was doing some work in Lagos, Nigeria, when […]

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Travelling on the Franceville bus, with Milla and Jojo…

January 29, 2017 Articles Leave a comment

As some of you may know, I was in Franceville, Gabon, to watch the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final between Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions and Senegal’s Lions of Teranga. It was a very tough encounter, which took a penalty shootout to resolve. After the match ended, I had to catch the shuttle bus to get back […]

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Nations Cup Postcard from Gabon: A German in Africa

January 27, 2017 Articles Leave a comment

With a coaching career in Africa spanning over five decades – 45 years to be exact – Otto Pfister has seen the ecstatically good, the frustratingly bad and the extremely ugly sides of the continent’s football. Starting with Rwanda’s national team in 1972 and having his last African stint with USM Alger in 2015 – […]

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Nations Cup Postcard from Gabon: A mix of many issues

January 21, 2017 Articles Leave a comment

As everyone that has a basis knowledge of football understands, the quality of a playing pitch has a direct relationship to the standard of games played on it. That truism is no less relevant at the Africa Cup of Nations. And yet, from one tournament to another, the quality of pitches continue to come up […]

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“I thought I was going to die” – Sepp Blatter

December 9, 2016 Articles Leave a comment

Sepp Blatter, the former FIFA President, spoke to me in a one-hour conversation, at the Sonnenberg Restaurant in Zurich, on Thursday, December 8th. Here are excerpts:  On how the problems in FIFA personally affected him: “When the crisis in FIFA happened, I felt everything had crashed down on me. I was miserable and could not believe that […]

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Ghana’s FA sign $17m TV deal with StarTimes

November 23, 2016 Articles Leave a comment

Ghana’s FA has signed a $17m deal with the Chinese-owned Star Times Group. According to a statement from the Ghana FA, “StarTimes acquires all media rights of the Ghana Premier League, the Gala, the National Division One League, the MTN FA Cup, the Ghana Women’s League and the Ghana Juvenile League for the next 10 […]

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Memories of a friend…

November 21, 2016 Articles Leave a comment

As the year gradually inches to a close – we barely have six weeks left in 2016 – I am thinking of the friends I’ve lost this year, Ken Saro-Wiwa being one of them. Ken’s death, at 48 (I’m just a year younger than him) totally floored me. But it is the passing away of […]

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Meet the Iwobis

November 18, 2016 Articles Leave a comment

Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi describes to me, on the BBC’s “World Football” programme, how manager Arsene Wenger has taught him the value of patience. Iwobi, enjoying his break-through season at Arsenal, also tells me why he chose to play for Nigeria over England and how Nigerian fans ask for much more than mere selfies when […]

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