Togo elects new football federation president
Gabriel Ameyi vowed to work hard to restore confidence in Togo football after he was elected the new president of the country's football federation on Friday.
Following the vote, which Ameyi won in a poll of 52 Togolese football delegates, the new president called for officials to work together.
''We can pool our energies and resources together to revive our country's football which has been torn apart by deep crisis,'' he said.
The 44-year-old Ameyi will lead a new federation after Togo's conflict-ridden football body was dissolved by FIFA in 2009 and placed under the control of an interim committee, beginning a disastrous spell for the sport in the west African country.
Togo's team bus was attacked by terrorists at the African Cup of Nations in January, leaving two members of the Togo party dead. In September, the federation was rocked by scandal when a fake Togo team played against Bahrain in a friendly international. Former federation officials were responsible for leading the team, made up of unknown players and posing as Togo's national squad, on the unsanctioned tour.
Togo was given until Nov. 6 to organize the elections, which had already been postponed, or face suspension by FIFA.
Ameyi, the founder and owner of the Maranatha first division club, won 33 votes to 19 for Boukpessi Essoyaba after the election was held in a hall, with reporters locked out. A third candidate, Amouzou Tetteh, received no votes. Ameyi's victory was greeted by a thunderous ovation by hundreds of Togolese football fans.
Togo sports minister Christophe Tchao asked Ameyi to work with his defeated opponents in the interests of the country.
Togo's interim committee was under pressure to meet FIFA's Saturday deadline after postponing the vote from Oct. 16 because the president of the interim committee, General Seyi Memene, had to travel to France for medical treatment.
''I am satisfied that after all the anxiety and months of hard work, the federation elections have come to a peaceful end,'' said Richard Solitoki, a member of the interim federation, which organized the elections.
Ameyi, who was a vice president in the federation dissolved by FIFA, said his priority was to revive Togo's football league which has been suspended for the past year because of conflicts within the former federation.
He is expected to take office next week.