On Friday last week, South Africa’s Dr Patrice Motsepe was elected Confederation of African Football (CAF) president.
We say he was elected, but we all know too well that the deal was engineered by world governing body Fifa. The other contenders were convinced to contest other positions of vice president and advisors to Motsepe.
Well, the rich man who owns top South African Premier League club Mamelodi Sundowns – the African club champions 2016 – replaces Madagascan Ahmed Ahmed who was banned by Fifa for five years for corruption.
He appealed and the Court of Arbitration for Sports reduced the ban to two years. We welcome the new president, but we must admit that we do that with trepedition!
In 2012 when Ahmad was elected CAF president, we praised him and hoped for a better future. We were dead wrong.
Ahmad floored the long-serving Cameroonian Issa Hayatou and we thought that anybody would be better than the outgoing CAF president.
Hayatou had led CAF for three decades and had run out of ideas. CAF was lagging behind all other continental football bodies. The arrival of Ahmad Ahmad and the promises he made were like music to our ears.
We would wish to praise South African lawyer and prominent miner Motsepe, but the new CAF boss’s acceptance speech after clinching the seat raises doubts. He said: “I thank my brother Gianni [Infantino, Fifa presient] for the vision and the encouragement of unity. We can only deal with the challenges of Africa when we are united.”
His maiden speech was to thank the Fifa boss for his elevation to the top seat of African football. We suppose that he did so not because he has arrived there by hanging on the coattails of Fifa, but because he may need to work well for the betterment of African football.
He then unveiled his 10-point agenda for reforming CAF. There was nothing new in his points, and as such , we are not holding our breath.
The main thing killing CAF is corruption, and we do hope that this new man who is also rated as Africa’s ninth richest person is not going there seeking wealth!
We hope he’ll seek broadcasting contracts for Africa, even if it means reducing teams in national leagues; that he’ll zone the continent logically so that broke teams don’t travel far to honour matches, that he’ll attract corporate sponsorship! We wish him well . Welcome Dr Patrice Motsepe.