Why Patrice Motsepe has high hopes for his new secretary-general Veron Mosengo-Omba

Caf President Patrice Motsepe during the press conference at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
SOCAF President Patrice Motsepe01_IMGL0606 Caf President Patrice Motsepe during the press conference at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

New Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Patrice Motsepe has said he appointed Veron Mosengo-Omba as his new general secretary because he needed “somebody who can hit the ground running”.

Veron is experienced and has interacted with not just most African football association (FA) heads personally‚ but most in the world as he has served as chief officer of Fifa’s member associations (MAs).

This required him to be in close contact with all 211 MAs.

Motsepe‚ though‚ was questioned on the appointment of someone with a dual Swiss and Democratic Republic of Congo citizenship.

“We have to take these Africans who are what I call part of the diaspora.

"Whether it’s [Paul] Pogba‚ whether it’s [Kylian] Mbappe‚ or anyone who comes from Africa who are now citizens of other countries‚” Motsepe said.

“And I can tell you that many of those I’ve met‚ even those whose parents left and they grew up in Europe or America‚ have a deep emotional bond with Africa.

“We need them. So for me it was important to send a message to the DRC‚ and to Africa‚ that in Veron we have got world-class material.

“Veron loves Africa deeply. And he said to me‚ ‘I want to make a contribution’.

“The problem that I have is that I need results. And I need somebody who can hit the ground running.

“There are many bright‚ smart people who still need to go and learn and get exposed. Football is unlike any other industry.

“ … And what I like is that when I mentioned Veron’s name in the presence of all of those [FA] presidents [at Caf’s assembly] they were so excited.

"Because they were saying to me that‚ ‘We have been working with Veron for many‚ many years’.

“Here are these African presidents who have worked with Veron – because Veron was heading up the whole world in his position.

“So I think we are deeply privileged to have Veron. And I am going to keep looking for some of the best‚ smartest Africans‚ whether they are in China or Japan.

“And to the extent that they can partner with us to make African football better we will keep engaging with them.”

Fifa‚ in a statement congratulating the new Caf general secretary‚ explained that: “Mr Mosengo-Omba initially joined Fifa in 2016 as Regional Member Associations (MAs) Director with responsibility for Africa and the Caribbean.

“He subsequently spent the past two years supporting all 211 Fifa MAs to implement the Fifa Forward development programme‚ as well as managing relationships with all Fifa MAs and continental confederations in his role as Chief Officer of the division.

“Mr Mosengo-Omba was particularly involved in supporting the 54 African MAs in their Fifa Forward projects‚ in the development of youth and women’s football throughout the continent‚ and in the recent implementation of the Fifa Covid-19 Relief Plan.”

The Fifa Forward programme contributes to global stadium and development infrastructure.