Of all the four CAF Presidency candidates, perhaps Patrice Tlhopane Motsepe is the one with the least track record in football administration. However, that doesn’t make the 59-year-old a pushover.
Since getting into football with the purchase of Mamelodi Sundowns back in 2003, Motsepe has turned the Chloorkop-based club into a force to be reckoned with, not only locally, but on the continent and with global recognition.
The club – which continues to dominate local football with much ease, winning seven PSL Championships and numerous other local cup tournaments – has won the CAF Champions League, took part in the Club World Cup and managed to bring Spanish giants, Barcelona to the country twice – showcasing not only SA football, but African football to the world.
With that trajectory, it should be not come as a surprise that this businessman-cum-soccer–supremo is gunning for the highest office in African football with an almost tangible confidence that he could be the link African football has been missing for decades.
The Garankuwa-born businessman is the son of a former school teacher who later became a businessman, which laid the foundation for Motsepe’s business interest. He obtained his Batchelor of Arts degree and a Law Degree at the University of Swaziland and Witwatersrand, respectively.
In the mid-90’s he founded Future Mining, which lay the foundation to the building of a mining magnate, who would become the first black billionaire. The company provided contract mining services that included the cleaning of gold dust from inside mine shafts for the Vaal Reefs Gold mine, and implemented a system of worker remuneration that combined a low base salary with a profit-sharing bonus.
He later established African Rainbow Minerals which bought several mine shafts from AngloGold. In 2002, the company was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Married to Dr. Precious Moloi, a physician and fashion entrepreneur, Motsepe expanded into football when he bought Mamelodi Sundowns in 2003 and since then the clubs has soared to heights never imagined before. His move into football was a big shocker in local circles as it meant buying out at a time, some of the most powerful figures in the local game, Natasha Tsichlas and her late husband, Abe Krok.
But that was not the last of Motsepe’s surprises. In November 2020, he was announced as the CAF Presidential Candidate. But the big question is can Motsepe pull out one more surprise as be confirmed the first CAF president from an English-speaking country?
Patrice Motsepe canvassing for CAF presidency: