A special ceremony in honour of Issa Hayatou, the first African to head the world football governing body Fifa, was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon on Monday.
The event was organised by the Cameroon Ministry of Sports and Physical Education and the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT).
Various speakers hailed the 69-year-old for his achievements in the sports domain—especially football.
Former Cameroon national football team captain, the first to captain two world cups, Stephen Tataw praised the acting Fifa president for doing footballers, especially in Africa, proud.
“Thanks to Issa Hayatou, Africa has moved from two to five representatives at the World Cup,” Tataw said.
He also praised Hayatou, who is also the president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), for the increase in the number of teams at the Africa Cup of Nations championship from eight to 12 and now 16.
Cameroon soccer legend Albert Roger Milla thanked the acting Fifa president for making him the African player of the century.
Milla recounted his football heydays when Hayatou was Cameroonian soccer administrator.
FECAFOOT president Tombi A Roko Sidiki, said the interim Fifa boss influenced the construction of the Caf excellence training centre in Cameroon.
Hayatou was FECAFOOT president from 1986-1988, winning the African Cup of Nations in Morocco in 1988.
A symbolic gift by the Cameroon sports fraternity was handed to Hayatou by Sarah Etonge, the African mountain race star.
Beaming with smiles, Hayatou saluted the Cameroonian authorities for the hero’s reception.
He said he welcomed the support from his country, adding that the echoes of their patriotic elation, amplified by the media, contributed to motivating him to take on the challenge which was the first time ever for an African.
He pledged to restore Fifa’s credibility at a time the institution was rocked by several scandals.
Cloud of suspicion
“Fifa is going through a very difficult crisis and it is at this difficult moment that the Cameroonian people have shown their support to me and the honour accorded me by the international community. I promise you, I will do all to ensure the ship is brought back to the right port,” Hayatou said.
The acting Fifa president said his immediate projects would be to clear the soccer body of the cloud of suspicion and the perception of corruption
Hayatou was later received by the Cameroon Prime Minister Philemon Yang, who promised him the government’s support.
Yang also briefed the CAF president on the level of preparedness for the 2016 and 2019 female and male African Cup of Nations tournament to be staged in Cameroon.
SOURCE: AFRICA REVIEW