The race for who will lead African football for the next four years is definitely one like no other. It is a race that began with perhaps the largest field in recent history and the most diverse of candidates so far.
The race has already seen its fair share of drama, with incumbent Ahmad Ahmad slapped with a five-year ban from football just months after he revealed plans to run for a second term.
Africa’s football governing body, CAF will have a third different leader at the helm when elections are held on March 12, 2021.
That certainly points towards one thing, the continent will take a different direction – whatever direction that may be – in terms of how affairs are run.
Amidst the diverse field of potential candidates is Senegal Football Federation president and CAF Executive Committee member Augustin Senghor who has even declared himself ‘favourite’ in the race.
Senghor has presided over Senegalese football for over 10 years since taking the seat in 2009 and has engineered much of the success the Teranga Lions have enjoyed recently; reaching the finals of the Africa Cup of nations in 2019.
A lawyer and a politician, Senghor is the mayor of the Goree, an island off the coast of the Senegalese capital Dakar, and president of top-flight side US Goree.
He describes himself to be a reformer, unifier, visionary, a man of challenge, a Pan African and a modern manager, values he believes will go a long way in helping transform CAF who are riding their toughest tide since its inception in 1957.
“To sum up, CAF is on the verge of breakage to the point that some people,” Senghor described the body’s current situation during his manifesto launch.
He also added: “Refuting its undeniable achievements in several areas, only remember its shortcomings.”
“It urgently needs an action plan aimed at its recovery over the next four year before thinking about the consolidation actions that should lead it towards the CAF of the future.”
“Often, I give myself time to think things through, I don’t make up my mind quickly,” he stated, adding; But when I decide to go, I go all out.”
“That’s why I present myself as a favourite of this election through my projects and my experience,” Senghor noted.
Senghor pointed out the eight major challenges to African football which include an outdated legal order, absence of leadership with full legitimacy, administrative instability, the dwindling quality of competitions and challenges to commercial rights among others.
According to the Senegalese manifesto, an 11-point program which is broken down into four priority areas will form the back bone for a more credible and effective CAF.
The priority areas range from; executive administrative and legal governance, encompassing reforms of the legal and decision-making framework, restructuring of the operations of the executive committee and accelerating the body’s management body to achieve optimal efficiency.
Development of grass roots where accelerating the process of professionalism, modernization and construction of football infrastructure, build substantial capacity of human resource will be key.
At the financial and commercial management level, the focus will be on implementing new efficient policy for mobilisation of financial resources, putting an end to ongoing commercial disputes which will lay a foundation for a strong commercial policy.
Senghor has so far received support from the West African Football Association, with nations like Guinea, Cape Verde, Liberia, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Sierra Leone all backing his presidential bid.