Madagascan football on the agenda
© FIFA.com

Visiting Zurich in his capacity as the president of the Madagascan FA and a member of FIFA's Disciplinary Committee, Mr Ahmad enjoyed an audience with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. After updating the President of world football's governing body on the status of the game on the island and thanking him for helping to resolve the national FA's problems with the government, Mr Ahmad gave an exclusive interview to FIFA.com.

FIFA.com: Mr Ahmad, can you tell us why you are here?
Mr Ahmad: I came to thank the FIFA President. We were having lots of problems with government interference a few months ago and I'm extremely grateful to FIFA for taking a firm stance in applying its regulations and helping restore normality.

Madagascar's chances of reaching South Africa 2010 are over. How happy were you with the Scorpions' qualification campaign?
We made some mistakes along the way but when you consider the resources we have, I think we did ourselves proud. The FA is more or less self-sufficient. We haven't touched any government subsidies and we haven't had any assistance. And despite the internal problems I mentioned, we played very well. If you ask me, I think we deserved a bit more luck.

What is your goal now?
The objective during my presidency is very straightforward - to make sure football in this country gets its house in order. We have already made a start. We've got committees up and running and we also have headquarters now as well as a national academy, a regional academy and an artificial pitch too.

How much will having an artificial pitch help you?
The pitch is just the start of a period of development for Madagascan football. Since it was laid all the teams that have played on it have been scoring more goals than before. That shows the impact the quality of the pitch can have on the quality of the football. I'm delighted, therefore, that Win in Africa with Africa has given us this extremely valuable resource.

And what does the future hold?
When we took over we made the somewhat risky decision of investing in our youth. We set up an U-17 team in 2003 and that generation went on to win the COSAFA Cup in 2005. The same players also did well in the qualifiers for South Africa 2010 and it is our hope that they will be at their peak in 2012. Three of them are playing club football at a decent level in France and that's a sign that our players have become competitive.