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Sundowns boss Patrice Motsepe takes his bid for the Caf presidency to the Fifa Club World Cup

Mamelodi Sundowns President Patrice Motsepe has a 37% stake in the Blue Bulls Company.
Mamelodi Sundowns President Patrice Motsepe has a 37% stake in the Blue Bulls Company.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

With a month to go to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) presidential elections‚ South African candidate Patrice Motsepe has travelled to the Fifa Club World Cup to firm up relations he has recently established with voting delegates.

Motsepe has travelled with SA Football Association (Safa) president and Caf third vice president Danny Jordaan to the Club World Cup‚ where African FA presidents have been invited by Fifa to attend the tournament.

Bayern Munich‚ who beat Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly in the semifinals‚ meet Mexico’s Tigres in Thursday night’s final. Ahly meet Brazil’s Palmeiras in the third-place playoff.

Safa communications director Dominic Chimhavi said Motsepe intends to firm relations he made with most of the African FA presidents on a trip to Cameroon in January.

Motsepe is running against Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast‚ Augustin Senghor of Senegal and Mauritanian Ahmed Yahya for the Caf presidency in the March 12 elective conference in Rabat‚ Morocco.

“There is a month to the election. So it’s just a follow-up from his trip to Cameroon where he met almost 80 percent of the voting delegates‚” Chimhavi told TimesLIVE on Wednesday.

“All those delegates‚ all the 54 FA presidents‚ have been invited and are also going to Qatar for the Club World Cup.

“If you are campaigning you need to be very visible. And there is no better place for that than in these kinds of competitions.

“All the FA presidents were invited to the Club World Cup. So Motsepe is not going to just appeal to the African presidents‚ but it’s good for him to network with the rest of the world too.”

Motsepe last month travelled to Cameroon to meet continental FA presidents coinciding with the delayed 2020 Chan (African Nations Championship). Chimhavi said Motsepe set up crucial one-one-one meetings with FA heads in Cameroon and Qatar.

“In Cameroon he made it a point that he meet every FA president to have a heart-to-heart chat and say‚ ‘This is me‚ this is what I’m selling and intend to do in African football’‚” the Safa official said.

“I was there to prepare some of those logistics. He met these FA presidents one by one in his private room. He invited them in‚ and managed to have a sit-down with each FA president.

“And the body language says to me that the feeling was that‚ ‘This is the man who can revive the dwindling fortunes of Caf. This is a clean man who can give us a fresh start’.”

Chimhavi said Jordaan’s presence‚ and the support when he visits such events of the influential Cosafa president Phillip Chiyangwa – both of whom played a role in ending Issa Hayatou’s 29-year reign as president‚ and Ahmad Ahmad’s succession – to make introductions helps Caf outsider Motsepe in networking.

Cosafa (the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations)‚ which has 14 votes‚ has publicly supported Motsepe’s bid.

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 (Cas) pending an appeal‚ which is to be heard on March 2.

Caf’s executive committee‚ in a heated meeting that Ahmad stormed out of this weekend in Yaounde‚ Cameroon‚ reportedly rejected the Cas reinstatement‚ and resolved that it would ultimately be Fifa’s decision whether Ahmad would be eligible to run on March 12.

It remains to be seen how that plays out in terms of the Madagascan’s bid to restore himself to the Caf presidency.