Though it has been 14 years since construction began, the CAF Center of Excellence which is being built around Ayat vicinity has not been fully completed. Funds to the construction of the center are now halted even after the Issa Hayatou administration promised to support the cause.
A grand blueprint to build three center of excellence in the continent has been agreed during a summit which was held in South Africa. Ethiopia, Cameroon and Senegal were selected by the summit as places for the construction of the center of excellence. In 2004, the CAF Center Excellence in Addis Ababa commenced construction. Nonetheless, construction was halted due to lack of fund from the continental football governing body. Phase one of the constructions is completed but the playing field and other facilities are not yet all over.
Four years ago during the African Union 50th year anniversary celebration in Addis Ababa, the then CAF incumbent Issa Hayatou visited the Center of Excellence compound as he affirmed CAF’s support to see the project go through in the coming years. To the dismay of many the promised words were just rhetoric.
CAF president Ahmad Ahmad, on Monday August 8, visited the center of excellence likewise was briefed by Mr. Sahelu Gebrewelde, who happened to be manager of the center in Addis Ababa, regarding the current state of the center. Sahelu stated since the construction has not been finalized for the last decade the buildings are now deteriorating. The former Ethiopian Football Federation boss Sahelu further noted the completion of the center must be a very important task for CAF. He also told President Ahmad that the center needs a revolving fund in order for it to be completed.
The 57 years old Malagasy on his part alluded to the fact that CAF needs to be extra careful when it comes to investing in these kinds of projects. “We have to audit the money before investing. We can’t do it like the previous administration did. Transperancy in finance is needed now,” Ahmad said.
The CAF Center of Excellence in Cameroon located in Mbankomo, 30 kilometers outside the capital Yaounde, has officially inaugurated and became operational in 2014. There have been reports emerging that CAF under Ahmad’s presidency seek to scrape plans to complete a center of excellence in Addis Ababa.