Motsepe promises to ‘make African football amongst the best in the world’

12 March 2021 - 15:01
By Marc Strydom
Patrice Motsepe has been confirmed as the first South African president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf).
Image: Veli Nhlapo Patrice Motsepe has been confirmed as the first South African president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

Patrice Motsepe‚ in a brief address seconds after he became Confederation of African Football (Caf) president on Friday‚ pledged to “make African football amongst the best in the world”.

Motsepe was confirmed Caf president just after noon Moroccan time‚ and just after 1pm South African time‚ in the 43rd Caf General Assembly in Rabat on Friday.

The Mamelodi Sundowns owner was elected unopposed as part of a deal reached in the past month that saw opposition candidates Augustin Senghor of Senegal‚ Mauritanian Ahmed Yahya and Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast withdraw from the race.

Speaking moments after the confirmation of his presidency‚ Motsepe said that he had taken note of the financial reports presented at the assembly that expressed the losses made by Caf in 2020‚ and need for economic reform.

“Let me start by saying it’s a huge honour and a huge privilege for me‚” Motsepe said.

“And we spent the morning hearing the challenges that confront African football. And I’ll talk later about what all of us can and will do together.”

Motsepe thanked Fifa president Gianni Infantino‚ whose address opened the assembly‚ for “the vision and the encouragement of unity”.

“We can only deal with the challenges of Africa – and we will succeed – but we will only do so when we are united‚” Motsepe said.

He also thanked the Caf executive committee. “And with you‚ and with every one of the member association presidents and the leadership we have in Africa‚ the leadership we have in every country‚ it is that leadership that gives me confidence and inspires me.

“And I’m absolutely confident that working together we will indeed succeed to make African football amongst the best in the world.

“By brother Senghor‚ my brother Yahya‚ my brother Jacques Anouma‚ thank you so much.

“And just thanks to the [Caf] staff. You know sometimes we see the failures and the problems and the weaknesses in Caf‚ but we must also focus on the optimistic‚ on the positive.

“[And focus] on a lot of the good work that many of the staff‚ the committees‚ all of these good people‚ the ethics committee‚ all of these structures within Caf that really have excellent people.

“My father [Chief Augustine Motsepe] used to say to me‚ ‘Always remember that you are what you are because of the communities‚ the society your parents’.

“And for us in South Africa Nelson Mandela would always say that‚ ‘Your democracy was because of the people of Africa’.”

Senghor and Yahya have been offered vice-presidencies under Motsepe‚ and Anouma an advisory role.