Samuel Kuffour has accused Fifa presidential candidate Issa Hayatou of fixing a recent poll that saw him miss out on the African Player of the Year award to Senegal’s El Hadji Diouf.
The Bayern Munich defender was widely tipped to claim the award having won the Bundesliga, Champions’ League and World Club Championship in the same season.
But he was voted runner-up, prompting a bitter outburst against the Cameroon Football Association chief.
« Hayatou and his people denied me the title of Africa’s top player, » Kuffour told Swiss newspaper Sonntagsblick. « What happened there was a farce. I flew to the ceremony in Johannesburg in the belief that I had won. When I arrived, Hayatou welcomed me and even sent me his congratulations. As for Diouf, I had never heard of him before. « My wife started to cry and I could hardly comfort her. Many fans were also furious about the fixing of the election. The outcome is due to Hayatou. He forced this, or at least tolerated it. If this man takes over at Fifa, he will surely ruin the game. »
Emmanuel Maradas, of African Soccer magazine, suggested Kuffour was the victim of political wranglings ahead of the Fifa presidential election.
Hayatou is bidding to replace Sepp Blatter and Maradas believes Kuffour’s snub had more to do with the political leanings of his country’s FA than achievements on the field.
« The technical commission and the media commission are usually in charge of the election and they had Kuffour as their No 1, » he said. « But Kuffour is from Ghana and the FA there, especially vice-president Abedi Pele, support Blatter.