46 DAYS TO GO
Caf president Issa Hayatou turned down Rwanda’s proposal to bid to host the African 2010 Nations Cup, Sports and Culture Minister Joseph Habineza revealed recently.
Instead, Kigali was awarded the rights to host the 2009 African Youth Championships as a dress rehearsal event. CAN 2010 will be hosted by Angola.
“I was with my friend Celestin (Musabyimana) when we went to talk to Mr. Hayatou but he told us that it would be better if we started with the African Youth Championship which he said should act as a rehearsal to the big tournament,” revealed Habineza.
Musabyimana, a former Ferwafa vice president and current a member on the Caf Executive Committee representing Cecafa region until 2011, is one of the most influential personalities in Rwandan football.
Rwanda was awarded the rights to host the Youth Championships during the last edition held in Congo Brazzaville in 2007.
The two week long event is scheduled to kick-off in Kigali on January 18-February 1 in Kigali with eight countries taking part.
The Caf African Youth Championship is a major international football competition for Caf nations, played by U-20 years old players with the top four teams qualifying for the Fifa World Youth Championship.
Until 1989 the African representatives were determined purely on a qualifying basis with no African title on the line. Since 1991 there has been a qualifying stage followed by a final tournament played by eight teams in a chosen country.
Critic backs Hayatou
Ghanaian football legend Abedi “Pele” Ayew has stunned the African football by backing the president Issa Hayatou to remain at the helm of African Football for the sake of peace as Africa prepares to host the 2010 World Cup.
Pele was previously a Hayatou critic, who will be re-elected unopposed next February.
“The reason why I’m supporting him is I want a peaceful Africa, and I don’t want Caf to be having power struggles when we have the  World Cup in South Africa,” Pele told BBC Sport.
“I know how we suffered to get the World Cup to this continent - for the past 10 years we’ve been working so hard and I don’t want this hard work to be in vain.”
Pele, a three-time African Footballer of the Year, is an official ambassador for the 2010 World Cup. He is also a member of the football committee of the game’s world governing body Fifa.
When Hayatou challenged Sepp Blatter for the presidency of Fifa in 2002, Pele urged African countries to support Blatter.
But, for now, Pele is behind Hayatou, who has been in charge of Caf since 1988.
“I want to see a successful World Cup, and after the World Cup we can all sit down and see whether there’s a need for change,” said Pele.
“We need to give him [Hayatou] the support to ensure that we have a very successful World Cup on our continent and to ensure that it was given on merit, not just by chance.”
The long-serving Caf president has been endorsed unopposed to run again for the top seat in African football.
The 62-year-old Cameroonian is standing for re-election in the forthcoming elections on to be held during the Caf Congress in February, 2009 in Lagos, Nigeria.
After being elected to the Caf presidency in 1988, Hayatou has enjoyed the loyalty of most of Africa by ensuring that each national association president had a place on one of Caf’s standing committees. His biggest success has been to increase the continent’s number of World Cup finals places from two in 1990 to five in 1998.
Rwanda has also benefited from Hayatou’s management as there were chosen to host the 2009 U-20 African Youth Championship set for January 18-February 1 and several Fifa projects.