Algeria have joined Ghana in questioning the integrity of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) after Afcon 2017 hosting rights were given to Gabon.
Algeria’s Minister of Sports, Mohamed Tahmi minced no words about his country’s disgust at the way the final procedure of the bidding process was conducted in Cairo on Wednesday.
“CAF’s decision shocked us and we can’t accept it till now. Our bid was the best among all but the CAF president gave it to Gabon. With all respect to Gabon but that was illogical,” Tahmi told state media on Thursday.
This comes a day after a member of Ghana’s bid team, Randy Abbey, leveled equally damaging allegations against African football’s governing body on Multi TV.
The biggest bone of contention for Algeria, as it is with Ghana, is how Caf have been mute on how many votes Gabon garnered to win the rights to host the prestigious tournament.
“I dare if anyone can tell us about the number of votes that Gabon had. I have the answer; no one knows that. We will not stop here. We will ask CAF how they ignored our offer, till now I can’t believe it,” the administrator said.
The usual practice is that when a bid member is declared winner, all 14 members of Caf’s Executive Committee are shown the voting patterns which granted the succesful candidate the majority. Per all accounts so far, this has not happened.
Also surprising is that Caf’s official statements through its sanctioned media did not offer any breakdown.
The speculation as to how Gabon won has been loud from the camps of both losing candidates. The reaction of Tahmi is not unexpected, because Abbey had told Joy Sports that such a remark should be expected.
Abbey had said on Wednesday: “We will like to congratulate Gabon for being declared the winner. But there was something and in the coming hours or days you will hear, I’m sure, from especially the Algerians.”
He had also reveald that “everybody was brought to the conference room and the Caf president just took a paper that said Gabon had won.”
Algeria’s bid was very strong, according to several officials who were in Cairo for the announcement.
The Maghrebian nation had long taken pride in the fact that they had met all criteria set by Caf, and also felt confident that because Ghana (2008) and Gabon (2012) had recently hosted the event, they would be favorites.
“Algeria has treated CAF with all respect in the past years but now I think we will change that. They will see a new face,” Tahmi said.
It has also been heavily suggested that Caf boss Issa Hayatou’s rivalry with Algerian Football Federation (FAF) chief Mohamed Raouraoua may have played a role in the events of Wednesday.