Leading South African businessman Patrice Motsepe emerged on Friday as the new President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). He took over from Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar, whose tenure ended in controversy.
“Africa needs collective wisdom, but also the exceptional talent and wisdom of every (national football association) president and every member nation,” Motsepe, Founder and Executive Chairman of the South African mining giant African Rainbow Minerals, said.
“When we all work together, football in Africa will experience success and growth that it has not enjoyed in the past,” he added.
Motsepe is the ninth richest man in Africa with a personal wealth estimated at $2.9 billion (2.4 billion euros) by Forbes magazine. He owns 2016 CAF Champions League winners Mamelodi Sundowns.
Last November, Ahmad Ahmad became the first CAF president to be banned by FIFA, with a five-year suspension for “governance issues” cut to two after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Just a few weeks ago, Motsepe, Ivorian Jacques Anouma, Mauritanian Ahmed Yahya and Senegalese Augustin Senghor were locked in an intriguing struggle for the CAF presidency. But FIFA-brokered meetings of the contenders in Morocco and Mauritania led to Motsepe becoming the sole candidate. Senghor and Yahya were given the first and second vice-president roles.
“I am delighted that FIFA has been able to contribute, even if just a little, to this crucial moment for football on this great continent,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.
Ahmad ended the 29-year reign of Cameroonian Issa Hayatou in the 2017 presidential election. But after a promising start, Ahmad stumbled from one crisis to another, which eventually led to him exiting the presidency in disgrace, having been found guilty of abuse of office, misappropriation of funds and rules concerning the offering and acceptance of gifts.
FIFA became so concerned by governance issues at CAF that it sent FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura to Cairo for six months to assist in the running of the confederation.
Kola Tella with AFP report