MONROVIA, Montserrado – The president of the Liberia Football Association, Musa Hassan Bility, has written his name in the annals of Liberian football after becoming the second Liberian to be elected as an executive committee member of Africa’s footballing body, the Confederation of African Football.
The Liberian football boss won the race to become a member of African football’s decision-making body on Thursday, March 16 in an election held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
He joins former secretary general of the Liberia Football Association, Marcel Bertin, who also served as a member of CAF executive committee.
Bility, who is serving his second term as president of the Liberia Football Association, won the seat of the West Zone A after a 26-22 vote over the incumbent Amadou Diakite of Mali.
Speaking to Truth FM Sports (Bility’s own media outlet), he said for too long the continent has been held hostage under a dictatorship, and as such, the new leadership will ensure the game is taken to another level. “Africa has made an emphatic decision that we are ready for change,” Bility said.
Meanwhile, former Cameroon Football Association secretary general, Issa Hayatou, who has been the president of the Confederation of African Football, has been replaced by Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar.
The long-serving African football president lost 20 votes to 34 votes in the presidential election that was held at CAF’s 39th General Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He took the seat in 1988, replacing Sudanese Abdel Halim Muhammad, who held the position from 1968 to 1972.
In February, the president of the Liberia Football Association, Bility, informed the public about LFA’s support of Ahmad for the elections. He told Football Africa Arena it was time for a change in African football.
“I’ve officially endorsed the candidacy of Mr. Ahamd. It is time to move beyond a three-decade-long reign. CAF is not a kingdom. I think there could never have been a better time to honor the life president Hayatou with a befitting event and bring this era to an end. I’m standing up for a change.”
“I’ll rather perish fighting to give Africa the joy football brings into our homes and communities than living on explaining why we are not going anywhere.”
With the candidate supported by LFA winning the presidential position and Bility being elected as a member of CAF executive committee, there are high expectations among Liberians of Liberian football moving to a higher level.
Since the announcement of the result, there have been many congratulation messages from Liberians across the world including some of Bility’s toughest critics.
Among those sending congratulation message to the Liberian football boss was a young activist and former footballer, Civicus Barsi-Giah, who has been pushing for Bility’s resignation as LFA president. The former Black Star midfielder described the Bility administration as corrupt and tarnishing the image of Liberian football.
Immediately after the result was announced, he used his Facebook page to congratulate Bility, despite still describing him as a corrupt leader.
“Congrats to Musa Hassan Bility for winning a post as one of CAF executive committee members chat for the first time,” he wrote. “Great job, though you are corrupt.”
“I hope this new portfolio will elevate your thoughts about Liberian soccer and that we graduate from poor management in general. Positions are meant to change you and the way you do things. Best of luck Musa Hassan Bility.”
Photo courtesy of T. Kla Wesley Jr.