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Dr Patrice Motsepe: From club owner to Caf President

CAF President Patrice Motsepe

Mamelodi Sundowns owner and president Dr Patrice Motsepe has finally received his reward for his contributions to African football after he was elected as the new president of the Confederation of African Footballer (Caf). 

The South African billionaire ascended to the highest seat in African football after he was inaugurated as the new president during the organisation’s 43rd Ordinary General Assembly in Rabat, Morocco.

Motsepe was elected uncontested to replace outgoing Ahmad Ahmad for the presidency after getting the vote of all the 52 associations at the congress after Jacques Anouma, Ahmed Yahya and Augustin Senghor, all withdrew from the running and backed him instead, becoming the first person from the Sub-Saharan African region to hold the crucial position since the formation of Caf in 1957.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino fully endorsed Motsepe’s new position, who also took the opportunity to congratulate all the presidential election candidates on their collective vision and team spirit.

‘I would like to congratulate Patrice Motsepe for his wisdom, his engagement, for his passion.

‘I want to wish all the very best for the next four years, to the new leading team of CAF, of African football, and to Patrice Motsepe, to all those who have been involved, to Augustin Senghor, Ahmed Yahya, Jacques Anouma, who will now have important roles in CAF’s administration.

‘You all want a strong and united Africa, projecting itself forward. It is thanks to you, it is your decision, your wish, your hope and your ambition. I want to assure you that FIFA is not at your side, FIFA is together with you.’

The South African is looking to rings changes in African football after he was ushered in as the new continental boss, stressed the fact that Africa spends a lot of money on European and very little on their own, but emphasised that they should set their eyes on making African football not only competitive but a dominant player in global sport. 

To achieve this goal, he believes there is a lot of work that needs to be done in improving the image of CAF and restoring the brand.

‘I’m very excited. There is a great deal of urgency of getting things done. There is a going to be a lot of work and a lot of running,’ Motsepe said.

‘We have to make sure that African football is not just competitive but globally successful. Africa spends millions of dollars every year paying for tv rights of leagues outside Africa. There is a need to build our own products and we will succeed.

‘The face of African football will never be the same again. 95% of our conversations will be about football and that is fine but there must be that 5% where we discuss the importance of the private sector partnerships. We need to restore the pride, the dignity and the respect of Africa.’

Dr Motsepe has also committed himself to visiting each of the 54 Member Associates of CAF in the next 12 months as part of a plan to understand the problems facing Member Associates and also to assist in creating relations with the corporate world.

‘There must be a quantitative clear programme that has targets. We talk about growth and development but we must talk about self-sustainable,’ he added.  

But the new president believes that one of the biggest performance indicators of progress will be to see African national teams dominating at the global competitions. 

‘We must also talk about the results on the field. The world will only respect us when our national teams can compete at world stage and be successful,’ Dr Motsepe said.

Having proved his leadership quality at Mamelodi Sundowns and helping the Brazilians to become one of the biggest brands in the world of football by conquering the local and continental scene.

Motsepe will now have a four-year term to influence and implement his 10-point agenda for African football:

1)     Investing in developing and growing football in each African country through sponsorships, private sector and other partners.

2)     Improving the efficiency and professionalism of CAF's Competitions and its staff.

3)     Implementing and adhering to governance and auditing global best practices.

4)     Investing in African football infrastructure.

5)     Investing in our youth and in the future of African football.

6)     Developing and growing women's football.

7)     Protecting the integrity and professionalising referees.

8)     Establishing Video Assistant Referees (VAR).

9)     Statutory reforms.

10)  Partnerships with FIFA and other Continental governing bodies.