Ahmad ban paves way for SA billionaire to ascend unopposed

Motsepe's last obstacle to CAF high office removed

09 March 2021 - 07:40
By neville khoza AND Neville Khoza
Mamelodi Sundowns owner Patrice Motsepe.
Image: Veli Nhlapo Mamelodi Sundowns owner Patrice Motsepe.

Patrice Motsepe will be confirmed as CAF president on Friday during the elective congress in Rabat, Morocco, following the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s ruling on Ahmad Ahmad but the Mamelodi Sundowns boss insisted yesterday he won’t “count the chickens before they hatch”.

Motsepe is the only remaining candidate in the elections after the withdrawal of his three west African rivals.  Augustin Senghor of Senegal, Ahmed Yahya of Mauritania and Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast pulled out of the race last week to leave Motsepe as the outright favourite to ascend the throne at Friday’s CAF congress.

But yesterday the 59-year-old was not keen on talking about what will happen on Friday or once he is elected the new CAF president as expected.

“I was always taught not to count the chickens before they hatch and that you must leave them because if you keep looking at them you will disturb them,” Motsepe told the media yesterday after Sundowns and the University of Pretoria announced a ground-breaking partnership that will enhance the game of football and its development through science, technology and scientific research.

The five-year agreement means the partners will collaborate in growing and improving the game of football through knowledge-sharing from both parties and providing training opportunities for up-and-coming youth players.

Motsepe, who decided to focus on their partnership with the university, said he would make time this week to talk about his plans for CAF.

“At the right time, we will come because I have a duty to the media and to the people of this country who love football. We had a press conference last time with all these people from the continent and also talking about Mamelodi Sundowns,” he said.

“Dr [Irvin] Khoza made excellent remarks, so did Dr [Danny] Jordaan. We will have a proper press conference.

“I will tell you why and I will be tempted to say something I’m not supposed to say. There are some legitimate issues where I have to engage. So we will have time to sit down and deal with these issues.”

Yesterday, CAF had announced that it had reduced the five-year ban for Ahmad to two years. Ahmad was the remaining challenger for Motsepe but the outcome of his appeal means the billionaire can now ascend to the throne unchallenged.

Motsepe, meanwhile, said he was excited about the partnership with the University of Pretoria and was looking forward to developing young players for Sundowns and Bafana Bafana.

“The best investment we can make is to invest in our academies and our youth. If you look at the most successful football nations in the world, they invest in the youth,” he said.

“We were very honoured at Sundowns when we had a partnership with one of the best football brains in the world, Johan Cruyff, and we had a five-year partnership.”