Ahmad highlights new influence as Caf signs VISA sponsorship

Caf president Ahmad
The continental football’s governing body boss reckons his administration has given the regional outfit a new positive image

Caf president Ahmad Ahmad believes various reforms under his new regime have made the continental football’s governing body a more attractive brand.

The regional football chief was speaking at the signing of a four-year sponsorship deal between Caf and global payment platform VISA in Accra on Monday. The partnership, which covers the 2019 and the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, makes VISA the exclusive payment service provider at both events, as well as the preferred payment option for tickets bought in-person and online.

The development comes five days after Caf announced a landmark deal with performance analytics company Catapult Sports.

“My image as the new president of Caf is itself a major change that is attracting new sponsors,” Ahmad, who replaced Issa Hayatou as Caf boss in March last year, said at Monday’s conference.

“When I came into power, we made some new reforms and these are helping to bring in more sponsors. We have had management, legal and compliance reforms and these were not really functional before I became president.

“We have also tried to decentralize the activities of Caf. When I was campaigning, I promised that when elected, I’ll ensure that at least 50 per cent of Caf’s staff at the headquarters in Egypt are from other African countries. I’m happy to announce that we’ve exceeded that target and have now gone to about 80%.

“These, and transparency, are the kinds of things potential sponsors want to see.”

The conference was also graced by Andrew Torre, regional president, VISA CEMIA, and Kemi Akusanya – Group Country Manager, VISA West Africa.

“The Afcon is now going to be played in June as against the previous normal of January.

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“The old system make it difficult for foreign-based players to come for the tournament, and they were not even fully committed when they came because they didn’t want to risk injuries and lose their positions in their clubs.

"June is a free period when almost all the major European competitions are likely to have wrapped up.”

Ahmad, a Malagasy, is in Ghana for the ongoing Africa Women Cup of Nations.