Change is good and some old philosophers referred to it as mutability; and that is why Shelley wrote the poem soaked in irony titled “Ozymandias”.
After centuries when his once great kingdom had regressed into a desert, his statue was still there hilariously declaring to the waste wrought by time: ‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!”. Of course there were no works to look at and the barren sands stretched far away!
That has been the case with Issa Hayatou of the Confederation of African football (Caf). The man stayed in that office for god-knows-how-long.
Was it 29 years or more? It is not important to us anymore, all we know is that we heaved a collective sigh of relief when he was trounced in the Caf elections and Madagascan Ahmed Ahmed took over the reins.
Hayatou had been very adamant about any changes to Caf calendar of activities. He forced it for a very long time to fall in January even in a World Cup year causing a lot of stress to African players who were bound for the competition
They went there with injuries picked from Caf championships plus the fatigue from playing in the European league that end almost two months before the World Cup.
We begged, we cajoled; we subtly abused him…we did all that we could so that he could see the light but he was like over threshed wheat; nothing good could come out of him.
He had passed his sell by date and the only concession he could give was to allow the calendar to run in the odd years.
Well, that is no more. The new faces in Caf have solved the problem with ease and we welcome their move.
The African Cup of Nations will no longer take place in January and February.
They tournament will be held in June and July of the odd year.
This will in effect allow African players in European leagues not to fret about having to be released by their teams for national duty just when the calendar there is in full throttle; it will also reduce the number of cases pending at Fifa where some players retire from national teams rather than play for their countries.
Furthermore, the months in question will make the tournament even more popular since the world will be having no other football event to watch except ours.
These are just some few advantages of the new move. The tournament will take place after every two years which is good because it will give players a chance to play as many times as possible for their country before old age sets in as it does with the four year gap of the World Cup.
Better still, the number of teams taking part in the tourney has been increased from 16 to 24. Perennial losers like Kenya now have no excuse not to qualify. Fail and we shall insult you Harambee stars.
It starts with grooming the best talent in the land and keeping it.