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Togo football club elects Ameyi president

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Fan president, Maman Togo, is pleased with Gabriel Ameyi's election
  • Ameyi is the founder and owner of the Maranatha club
  • Togo football has been wracked by tragedy and misfortune

(CNN) -- Togo's Football Association elected Gabriel Ameyi as its new president during a congress held in Lome on Friday.

Ameyi, the founder and owner of the Maranatha first division club, won 33 votes ahead of Boukpessi Essoyaba (19) and TÍtÍ Amouzou (0).

"I am very happy. My victory is like delivering sport in my country because we suffered too much. My happiness is also the happiness of Togo football fans as a whole," Ameye told CNN in an exclusive interview.

Ameyi said he won the election because of his "passion" and "commitment" for football.

"We needed a committed person at the head of our football and we have got it," said Togo football fans' president, a woman popularly known as "Maman Togo."

The president-elect said his priority will be to put the country's football back on track, as stadiums throughout the country have been closed down for over a year.

He also said that he would do all he can to qualify Togo for the next African Cup of Nations that will be jointly held in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in 2012.

Togo's sports world has been hit hard by tragedy and misfortune. Twenty sports officials, including Sports Minister Richard Attipoe, died in 2008 when their helicopter exploded in Lungi, Sierra Leone.

In January, gunmen attacked the Togo team bus on its way to the 2010 Africa Cup tournament, killing three and wounding many more. The team withdrew from the tournament and was promptly banned from the next two Africa Cup tournaments by the Confederation of African Football and fined $50,000.

And in September, the Togo Football Association declared that a match the team allegedly played earlier in the month against Bahrain was actually played by a fake team put together by a former team manager.