He arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Sunday upon completion of his three-day official visit to Burkina Faso.
The CAF President commenced his Ethiopia mission on Monday, 7 August 2017, with the Youth and Sports Academy his first point of call. He was accompanied by CAF Executive Committee member, Souleiman Hassan Waberi and the Ethiopian Minister of Youth and Sports, Erestu Yirda.
“I am happy to be here. We need more and more of such facilities. CAF is willing to support football development not only financially but technically too. Our main target is to develop African football”, he said after a tour of the facilities at the Youth and Sports Academy.
His next stop was the Addis Ababa National Stadium, which construction started in 2013. The 60,000-capacity stadium, built strictly to FIFA and CAF standards is 77 per cent complete, and should be ready to host games by June 2018 according to the Project Manager.
The Ethiopian Minister of Youth and Sports commended the CAF President on the visit adding the Government is committed to building new facilities to serve the sporting needs of the continent.
“Your visit confirms your interest to develop football. The stadium will be ready not only for Ethiopia, but also Africa and the global football family. This clearly shows how committed and willing to go forward as a society,” Yirda said.
CAF President Ahmad summed his tour with a visit to the CAF Centre of Excellence located in CMC, a suburb of the capital, Addis Ababa.
“The idea of the project started in 2003 when CAF took the decision to build three Technical Centres in Cameron, Ethiopia and Senegal. The Ethiopian Government allocated a plot of 50,000-square metres and facilitated the work by allowing the workers and logistics free of charge to CAF, after signing of the MoU between CAF and the Ethiopian Government.
“CAF started the construction eight years later when we signed the new MOU which says that the academy will be built in two phases. The First Phase is already done with the building the fence and two blocks, and we are looking forward to the second phase,” said Sahlu Gebrewold Gebremariam, the Director of the academy.
“CAF will continue supporting but we have to know that with the new reforms we won’t go forward until we know where we are standing and how the monies have been spent. Our auditing team will do the reports and based on that CAF will take the next step. This will not be applied only here but also everything related to CAF and African football for the sake of transparency and the game,” said Ahmad.
The CAF President is expected to meet Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, later in the day to wrap up his tour.