Motsepe expected to be confirmed as CAF president tomorrow

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South African businessman and Mamelodi Sundowns President, Patrice Motsepe, is expected to be confirmed as president of the Confederation of African Football ( CAF).

Motsepe who is running unopposed for the CAF presidency is expected to officially take over from Ahmad Ahmad during the CAF General Assembly scheduled for Rabat, Morocco, tomorrow morning. Motsepe was left as the sole candidate for the presidency following the withdrawal of three other candidates.

If elected president, he will become the eighth president of CAF since 1957.

He is also set to become the first person from an English-speaking country and only the second from Southern Africa to be elected president: 

The South African became the overwhelming favourite following the withdrawal of Augustin Senghor from Senegal, Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast, and Ahmed Yaya of Mauritania.

The incumbent, Ahmad Ahmad, was the only stumbling block after showing interest to stand for a second term. However, Ahmad is still suspended for two years from all football-related activities by the world football governing body, FIFA. Former Chief Executive of the South African Football Association, Raymond Hack, who now serves on CAF’s disciplinary committee, explains what will unfold at the CAF elections tomorrow.

“His nomination would go forward to the general assembly, there still has to be a formal vote. It can’t be by affirmation that they would say yes. We agree, the constitution is clear, it has to be a secret vote. They have to vote,  he has to get 28 votes then he is declared the president, and then the final game starts that’s where the voting for the CAF executive and thereafter the voting for the FIFA nominees come in.”

Although all eyes will be on the CAF presidential race, Hack says it is also going to be a tight race for those who want to be elected as part of the CAF executive committee and those that will eventually serve as Africa’s representatives within FIFA.

“Africa has seven, it’s two from the Francophone, two from the Anglophone, two from the Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic and one female. So, if you take the female away you are down so six if you take the fact that Patrice would be the president you then down to five. So the Spanish, Arabic, and Portuguese ring it is down to three and the Francophone brings it to one. So, you now got six people within the Anglophone applying to be the one person”.

Motsepe’s ascendency in African football has been endorsed by Zambian and African footballing legend, Kalusha Byalwa. But Byalwa says Motsepe cannot do it alone and needs to surround himself with relevant people to succeed in turning African football around.

“I think it’s a very important day for the Confederation of African Football, Patrice Motsepe has come in and has the necessary support from here and far beyond and I think what is most important is that it will be a new beginning for African football because Patrice Motsepe is a very successful businessman. This is important for us and I think Patrice, needs to have a good team, you know we have to work together.”

President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, SASCOC, Barry Hendricks, says they are delighted to have a South African at the helm of Africa’s biggest sport.

“He is doing South Africa proud, we have a South African now as president-elect to the helm of CAF. We are looking forward to working with him to develop his sport but not only in Africa, in South Africa as well and we cannot express our gratitude to him for putting his name forward and now standing in the position of getting the presidency of that important organisation in Africa”.

Swallows FC honorary president, Panyaza Lesufi, believes Motsepe is the right man to bring the much-needed reforms in African football.

“South Africa is a founding member of CAF, this is the moment of truth for all of us, not only that we stand to reform, redirect, and repackage football in Africa but South Africa has been given an opportunity to say we can do it. It’s a historic moment but most importantly to Dr. Patrice Motsepe, it’s a moment of truth to say what can we offer as South Africa”.

Motsepe’s first assignment will be to reclaim the broadcasting rights of African football which were mainly controlled by French companies for many decades. Currently, media rights to all African qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, are managed under a centralised sales model by FIFA. Following the 2018 World Cup in Russia, all African countries opted to individually sell their broadcasting rights.