Issa Hayatou has been named CAF Honorary President ©CAF

Issa Hayatou has officially been named Confederation of African Football (CAF) Honorary President at a ceremony held in Yaounde in his native Cameroon.

Hayatou served as CAF President from 1987 to 2017, before beating unseated by Madagascan official Ahmad.

The decision to award Hayatou the honorary title was made at the CAF Executive Committee last month, before being approved by the organisation’s General Assembly.

Acting CAF President Constant Omari presented Hayatou with a plaque and symbolic official CAF match ball during the event.

"For a long time at CAF, we have been thinking and preparing this event that is dedicated to you," Omari said.

"On behalf of the CAF Executive Committee, senior management members, staff, and till the last servant of African football, and in the presence of FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who elevated you to the rank of honorary vice-president of FIFA, I bestow on you title of Honorary President of CAF.

"I reassure you of the friendship, gratitude, permanent thanks, and the emotion of the great African football family for this event.

"From now and forever, you will be our guide, and our doyen, elder brother, but above all our Honorary President."

Infantino was among the officials present at the event, where he praised Hayatou for his continuing efforts to promote football.

Members of the CAF Executive Committee, several Football Association Presidents and Cameroon Government officials were also reportedly in attendance.

Hayatou began his career within football administration when he became general secretary of the Cameroon Football Federation at the age of 28, before securing Presidency of the organisation two years later.

He was elected CAF President in 1988.

Hayatou’s tenure included the continent’s first hosting of the FIFA World Cup which was held in South Africa in 2010.

He was credited with helping the expansion of the African Nations Cup during his long spell in charge.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino was among the officials present at the event ©CAF
FIFA President Gianni Infantino was among the officials present at the event ©CAF

"It is with deep gratitude that I am here," Hayatou said.

"I am happy to be among you here, I have a lot of memories with you.

"The hard reality of life is that we have this social distancing, so let’s put our priorities and principles intact.

"Let's unite and protect each other.

"I am telling you goodbye, but I assure you I will remain available.

"Together, let's celebrate this African Nations Championship together."

The event and CAF Executive Committee meeting were held prior to the African Nations Championship, which features players exclusively playing within Africa.

The key decision reached by the Executive Committee was to name Morocco as hosts of the 2022 Women’s African Cup of Nations.

The CAF Executive Committee also granted amnesty to teams withdrawing from competitions due to the coronavirus pandemic from March last year, while it modified the minimum number of players required to start a match.

CAF will allow teams to play with less than 15 players during the ongoing pandemic, with matches taking place if a team can field 11 players.

In the event there is no goalkeeper, another player would have to take over in goal for the match.

CAF also approved a joint mission with FIFA to assist in the finding ways out of a dispute between the Chad Football Federation and Government authorities.