ADDIS ABEBA - The world football governing body, FIFA, has ordered the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) to set key changes to its electoral process before presidential elections takes place.
In a letter to the EFF dated 2 April, FIFA's Secretary General Fatma Samoura said the elections - which have already been postponed five times - cannot take place until the electoral process is brought into line with FIFA statutes.
The order came right after a FIFA assessment mission made a visit in Addis Ababa on 12 March 2018.
The EFF Presidential election was first set to take place in November 2017 but postponed for December with FIFA intervention.
FIFA’s earlier intervention was made in November 2017 right after they received an invitation paper to attend the Presidential Election. As per FIFA statutes all national federations must inform FIFA a month before the election date but EFF sent the invitation paper with only a week to go for the decisive date.
The world football governing body says new elections must take place before 3 June 2018, but as things stand, there appears to be "confusion" regarding the electoral procedure and rules because of the "absence of a proper legal framework."
Fatma Samoura also highlighted the make-up of Ethiopia's electoral committee and electoral appeals committee, saying there are members who appear to be either officials or members of the EFF, including presidents of regional associations, which is deemed as a conflict of interest.
The head of the Electoral Committee, Zerihun Mekonnen, is also the head of the Amhara Regional State Football Federation. As the head of the Electoral Committee, Zerihun sent a letter to FIFA claiming that there is the government interference in the Presidential Election.
That also brought another round of rescheduling the election date. With due consideration, it seems now the final election date is set before June 3, according to FIFA order but the exact date is not yet fixed.
The EFF has been told it must convene an extraordinary general assembly to adopt an electoral code and to elect a new electoral committee and new electoral appeals committee.
Accepting the FIFA order is mandatory and calling the EFF General Assembly is not that difficult. But the EFF didn’t disclose a new date for the General Assembly, in accordance to the order of FIFA.
FIFA says the new committee should then convene elections, subject to its new code.
Five candidates are vying for a place to take control of football in Ethiopia.
They include incumbent President Juniedi Basha, former president Dr. Ashebir Woldegiorgis and ex Vice-president Teka Assefaw.
Some 16 candidates including former national team head trainers Sewnet Bishaw and Asrat Haile are locking horns in the hope of being elected in the executive committee.
Sources close to the federation indicates that the incumbent EFF President Juniedi Basha is the hot favourites to take the driving seat for the second time running. The former president Dr. Ashebir Woldegiorgis is also claiming that he has an unfinished duty at the EFF but he never specifically gave the details.
As St. George win Wolayita Dicha concede defeat
The Ethiopian Saint George side look set for a place in the group stage of the Confederation Cup after beating CARA of Congo Brazzaville by a slender 1-0 margin on Saturday at the Addis Ababa stadium.
Club Athlétique Renaissance Aiglon Brazzaville or simply CARA Brazzaville, who succeeded Vita Club as African champions, contained the Ethiopian side St. George for 78 minutes in Addis Ababa before Adane Girma who came on as a substitute scored the winner.
St George missed three clear scoring opportunities before they got the single winning goal.
The other Ethiopian side Wolayita Dicha who travelled to Tanzania to face the tough Tanzanian side conceded a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Young Africans on Saturday in Dar es Salaam.
After knocking out the giant Egyptian side Zamalaek Wolayita Dicha are called giant killers.
Reports from the area confirmed that the Tanzanians made a perfect start with Raphael Daudi scoring inside a minute and Emmanuel Martin added a second goal in the second half.
Wolayta Dicha, who are playing in Africa for the first time this season, stunned Zamalek of Egypt to reach the play-offs.
Meanwhile, Aduana Stars of Ghana look set for a place in the group stage of the Confederation Cup after thrashing Fosa Juniors of Madagascar 6-1 in their play-off first leg on Sunday.
Mali's Djoliba were the only side to earn a win away from home as they overcame Nigeria's Mountain of Fire and Miracles (MFM) 1-0.
Al Hilal were the only other team to score more than once on Sunday and will take a 2-0 lead to Nigeria over Akwa United.
Sadiq al Nour and Hussein Ibrahim scored within five minutes midway through the opening half to earn Hilal a 2-0 victory over Akwa United of Nigeria in Omdurman.
Akwa losing completed a miserable day for Nigerian challengers as MFM fell 1-0 at home to Djoliba in Lagos.
Mohammodou Cisse netted after 78 minutes to leave 2012 Confederation Cup runners-up Djoliba needing just a draw in Bamako to reach the mini-league phase.
Rwandan Jacques Tuyisenge converted a 78th-minute penalty to give Gor Mahia a 1-0 home win over 2017 Confederation Cup runners-up SuperSport United of South Africa in Machakos.
Former African champions Asec also won 1-0 at home to Belouizdad of Algeria with the only goal coming from Togolese Komlan Agbegniadan on 50 minutes in Abidjan.
On Saturday, Amadou Dia Ndiaye scored a 13-minute hat-trick as Generation Foot of Senegal fought back to defeat Renaissance Berkane of Morocco 3-1.
Ayoub el Kaabi, whose nine goals helped hosts Morocco win the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN), had put Berkane ahead with a 38th minute goal in Dakar.
But their first-half advantage was dramatically overturned as Ndiaye scored on 50, 59 and 63 minutes.
Raja Casablanca, the other Moroccan challengers in the second-tier African club competition, fared better as they triumphed 2-0 away to Zanaco of Zambia in Lusaka.
The three-time African champions broke the deadlock on 68 minutes through Mahmoud Benhalib and Zakaria Hadraf struck seven minutes later to all but ensure Raja a group place.
There were two other former African champions in action with Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo winning and CARA of Congo Brazzaville losing.
Fabrice Ngoma scored two minutes from time to earn 1973 champions Vita Club a 1-0 win over La Mancha of Congo Brazzaville in Kinshasa.
Emma James snatched the winner on 75 minutes as Plateau United of Nigeria edged USM Alger of Algeria 2-1 in Lagos.
King Osanga had given the home side a 1-0 half-time advantage which was cancelled by a Faouzi Yaya goal 10 minutes into the second half.
Williamsville of Ivory Coast were another club to establish a 2-0 lead at home, against surprise qualifiers Deportivo Niefang of Equatorial Guinea.
Jean Francis Nda Kouassi put the Ivorians ahead after 12 minutes in Abidjan and Roland Zan Bi doubled the lead eight minutes into the second half.
UD Songo boosted hopes of becoming the first Mozambican club to reach the group stage when they triumphed 3-1 over 2017 quarter-finalists Al Hilal Obied of Sudan in port city Beira.
There are five more first legs on Sunday, including former African champions ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast against CR Belouizdad of Algeria in Abidjan.
The second legs are set for April 17 and 18 after which the 16 overall winners will be drawn into four groups.
By Solomon Bekele