Doubts are emerging as to whether Ahmad Ahmad, the challenger in next month’s crunch Confederation of African Football (CAF) Presidential election, will secure blanket support from members of the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA).
The head of the Madagascar Football Association, who is the only challenger to veteran incumbent Issa Hayatou, was given the backing of the 13-member organisation following a meeting this month in Johannesburg.
COSAFA said in a statement at the time that the meeting produced "a number of resolutions, including the full endorsement of the Madagascar Football Association President, known simply as Ahmad, as he seeks the position of President of the Confederation of African Football at the governing body’s elections in Ethiopia next month".
However, a letter, which can be read here, has now emerged from the Comoros Football Federation (FCF), a COSAFA member, apparently pledging support for Hayatou.
The letter was apparently sent on February 18, hence post-dating the Johannesburg meeting.
Signed by Mariyatta Abdou Chacour, the FCF’s secretary general, and addressed to CAF in Cairo, the letter, which is written in French, states simply: "At the General Assembly of the Confederation of African Football which will be held on March 16 2017 in Addis-Abeba [sic], the Comoros Football Federation gives its total support to President Issa Hayatou, for his re-election to the post of CAF President."
Hayatou, from the west African nation of Cameroon, has led CAF, which has 54 FIFA Member Associations, since 1988 and is seeking an eighth term at the helm of the Confederation.
At present, the outcome of the election, which is being held in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, looks set to be close.
Earlier this month, Ahmad told Brillia FM that Nigerian Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick was a "close ally" of his campaign to oust Hayatou.
A dispute has existed between COSAFA and the CAF over a meeting held by the former in Harare on February 24.
Hicham El Amrani, secretary general of CAF, accused COSAFA President Philip Chiyangwa in a letter written on behalf of the Federation of trying to "destabilise" their organisation by holding the event, which saw other African Football Associations invited along.
Chiyangwa, who is also President of the Zimbabwe Football Association, has denied this was the case, saying it merely coincided with his birthday celebrations, and demanded an apology from CAF.