Sports

Motsepe’s campaign enters the home straight

GAME ON . . . South Africa’s billionaire businessman, Patrice Motsepe, talks about his bid to become the next CAF president during the COSAFA annual meeting in Johannesburg on Sunday. — COSAFA

JOHANNESBURG. — Patrice Motsepe’s bid for the presidency of the Confederation of African Football is set to hit the home straight this week when he unveils his plans in the race for the most powerful seat in the continental game.

Motsepe’s attempt to assume the presidency has gained momentum in recent weeks and he enjoys staunch backing from South African Football Association president, Danny Jordaan‚ COSAFA boss Philip Chiyangwa‚ Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick‚ SA’s regional neighbours Zambia‚ Zimbabwe‚ Botswana and Namibia‚ and West Africa’s Sierra Leone‚ among many others.

The 14 COSAFA nations once again pledged their support for Motsepe after an annual general meeting of the regional nations held in Sandton in Gauteng on Sunday.

The Sundowns boss will have been encouraged by their support as he attempts to assume the office Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad appears to be fighting hard to keep.

Ahmad‚ banned from football for five years by FIFA, for ethics violations in November 2020‚ was last month reinstated temporarily as CAF president by the Court of Arbitration for Sport pending an appeal‚ which is to be heard on March 2.

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CAF’s executive committee‚ in a heated meeting that Ahmad stormed out of a week ago in Yaounde‚ Cameroon‚ rejected the CAS reinstatement‚ and resolved it would ultimately be FIFA’s decision whether Ahmad would be eligible to run on March 12.

The COSAFA nations confirmed that Motsepe would have their backing as they believe he is the best candidate to lead CAF into a new era of transparency and good governance.

The meeting was attended by FIFA president Gianni Infantino‚ South Africa sports minister Nathi Mthethwa‚ Jordaan and other regional football leaders.

Motsepe is running against Jacques Anouma of Cote d’Ivoire, Augustin Senghor of Senegal and Mauritanian Ahmed Yahya for the CAF presidency in the March 12 elective conference in Rabat‚ Morocco.

COSAFA nations once again underlined their commitment to ensure that Motsepe becomes the next CAF boss.

“Dr Motsepe is our candidate, and we endorse him fully,” Chiyangwa said. “We believe he has the right mix of business acumen and connections in the corporate world to lead CAF through what will be a difficult period in the coming years.

“The name of Dr Motsepe is synonymous with good governance and integrity, and he is the perfect candidate to meet the challenges football on our continent faces.

“FIFA president Gianni Infantino often talks of how unity is required in African football to move the game forward and we firmly believe Dr Motsepe can bring that.”

Motsepe has been travelling the length and breadth of the African continent in recent months to explain his vision to football association presidents.

“His commitment to the role is obvious and the passion he clearly has for African football can never be questioned. We will go to congress (on March 12) as a COSAFA collective and we will show unity of our own to help Dr Motsepe get elected.

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“We are at a crucial stage for African football, that is quite clear, and what is required is strong and decisive leadership. That is how we will grow the game and provide the future we all want to see for African football.”

Motsepe has built a business empire in the last three decades and is the owner of South African Premier Soccer League side Mamelodi Sundowns, who were crowned winners of the CAF Champions League in 2016. — TimesLive/COSAFA

HERALD