Football administration in Africa is mired in poor governance and scandal. Moves by FIFA to impose reforms from above may represent a step forward, but the main effort needs to come from the continent itself
The Africa Cup of Nations, a biannual festival of colour, flair and skill, offers a rousing demonstration of the continent's love for the beautiful game. Football fans from across the continent are once again congregating in Egypt to cheer on world-class African stars, many of whom ply their trade at the highest level of European soccer.
Yet behind the scenes, African football is once again in turmoil, brought low by poor governance and scandal. In early June, Ahmad Ahmad, the Malagasy president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), was questioned by French authorities as part of a probe into "corruption, breach of trust and forgery".
While Ahmad denies the allegations, and was released without charge, the affair has cast a pall over African football just as it seeks to put its best foot forward.
The questioning is not the only incident to afflict African football in recent months. Original host Cameroon was stripped of this year's Africa Cup of Nations due to slow preparations, but was strangely offered the chance to host the event in two years' time, meaning that the original hosts of the 2021 and 2023 events will be forced to stage their tournaments later, prompting Cote d'Ivoire to take legal action. Meanwhile, CAF sensationally ordered a replay of the second leg of the CAF Champions League final following a failure of the video assistant referee (VAR) system.
Football's world governing body FIFA--itself no paragon of virtue--has clearly seen enough. FIFA has appointed its general secretary, Fatma Samoura, as "FIFA general delegate for Africa" to clean up the game. The appointment of Samoura, who will be in the role...