WINDHOEK – Former president of the Namibian Football Association (NFA), John Muinjo, yesterday warmheartedly congratulated African football chief Issa Hayatou for his induction into the African Sports Hall of Fame in the category of Best Leader for the year 2014.
Speaking to New Era Sport, Muinjo who has had the chance of working closely with Hayatou on various occasions, said it was high time for Africa and the world to recognise the sacrifices Hayatou has made to develop football in Africa, especially the empowerment of youth through football.
“It’s been a long time coming and I really think he deserves it. Besides his many achievements, Hayetou was instrumental in bringing the World Cup to Africa for the first time in history and again proved the worth of his leadership when he stood firm against all odds to make sure this year’s African Cup of Nations was hosted despite Ebola threats,” said Muinjo.
Locally, Muinjo said, due to Hayatou’s unselfish and progressive leadership the Confederation of African Football (CAF) accorded Namibia an opportunity to become only the fourth country to host the African Women’s Championship.
“One good aspect about his leadership is that he has a keen interest in youth development tournaments and under his leadership CAF has also achieved major strides in upgrading the standard of refereeing. There are, however, still many challenges such as the Ebola virus and lack of infrastructure to mention a few but overall I think African football has achieved a lot,” said Muinjo.
The prize was handed to him by Augustin Senghor, president of the Senegalese Football Federation at the ceremony held on Monday in Dakar, Senegal.
The distinction was awarded to Hayatou for his enormous contribution to the development of football on the African continent. The African Sports Hall of Fame is a honour in recognition of athletes and officials who have made a significant contribution to the development of sports on the continent.
Previous inductees of the Best Leader category of the African Sports Hall of Fame include Lamine Diack, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).