Newly elected -Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) - president Philip Chigawa has reportedly called for a meeting with African national association chairmen in Harare, Zimbabwe on 24th February 2017. The event is believed to be a celebratory dinner for his historic new position, whilst he will also use the opportunity to celebrate his belated 58th birthday.
But this has moved long-serving CAF boss Issa Hayatou who sent a letter, via -Confederation of African Football (CAF) - to Chigawa reprimanding him of staging a meeting of this nature without CAF’s knowledge and consent.
"Convening a meeting with representatives of many member associations outside COSAFA zone is deemed to represent an attempt to destabilise CAF,” read the letter.
"We draw your attention to the obligation of all zonal unions to respect the authority of CAF, and not to conduct in any activities that undermine the common objectives of CAF, for the benefit of African football development.
"The CAF Executive Committee reserves it rights to sanction any infringement to the CAF statutes."
Hayatou is seeking an eighth term in office and is believed to be shaken by this gathering which will be reportedly graced by FIFA president – Gianni Infantino’s – presence.
But reports suggest that Chigowa swiftly responded in a letter of his own which read:
“I was taken aback, to say the least, by the tone of your letter and the clear insinuation that such a gathering between presidents of member associations on the African continent would be considered, out rightly, as an attempt to destabilise CAF.
"CAF’s statutes promote friendly relations between National Associations, zonal unions, clubs, officials and players and the meeting is for that very objective.”
Chigawa’s ‘gathering’ will supersede FIFA’s executive summit planned to be held Johannesburg on 21st to 23rd February 2017.