CAF president-elect has big task ahead

Motsepe told: prioritise African unity, TV rights deal

Patrice Motsepe
Patrice Motsepe
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Experts of African football have collectively called for Patrice Motsepe, the incoming Confederation of African Football (CAF) president, to immediately iron out the TV rights impasse that has dragged on for more than a year and bring harmony to the continent's football controlling body.

The 59-year-old Motsepe will officially be ordained as the CAF president at the organisation’s congress in Morocco today. On Monday, it became clear the mining magnate was destined for the CAF presidency when incumbent and last standing challenger Ahmad Ahmad’s ban was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, making him ineligible.

Since CAF cancelled its media and marketing rights agreement with French company Lagardère Sports and Entertainment in November 2019, Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers and the Champions League games have not been broadcast.

Zambian football icon Kalusha Bwalya, who was president of that country's football association from 2008 to 2016, has asked Motsepe to resolve the TV rights stand-off, urging the SA billionaire to also work to unite CAF.

“CAF needs visionary leadership with an emphasis on strong teamwork and at this moment if anyone can do that, with the right people around him, it is Motsepe. His biggest challenge would be to unite CAF and sort out the TV blackout as soon as possible,” said Bwalya.

Orlando Pirates legend Teboho Moloi, who now coaches Lesotho club Lirane, echoed Bwalya’s sentiments that harmonising CAF and resolving the broadcast rights matter should be Motsepe’s priorities.

“He is a visionary man dedicated to football and he’s put aside his personal ambitions just to lead the continent. His big challenge is to unite the continent before he starts with everything else,’’ said Moloi.

“Please, Dr Motsepe, bring it home and change the face of African football forever. When the continent is united, he can then focus on the TV rights issues because it's also very frustrating that we can't watch Champs League on TV.’’

Former Premier Soccer League official Andrew Dipela has no doubt Motsepe is the right fit to lead African football. Dipela singled out the Confed Cup and Afcon as the tournaments Motsepe’s administration should look to improve, feeling that would then attract big sponsors.

“It is people of his calibre and capabilities that are needed to take African football forward. The Confederation Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations should be a proper product which can attract more sponsorship and can be broadcast all over the world like what is happening in the other continents, so they must work to up the standards of those competitions,’’ said Dipela.

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