The sole candidate for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) president seat, Patrice Motsepe has been confirmed as the leader of the African football governing body in Rabat, Morocco on Friday.
Motsepe is the first Southern African to man the post and the 8th CAF president since 1957. Speaking after the announcement, the business mogul pleaded for unity as he seeks to fix the troubled organization.
“Africa needs collective wisdom, but also the exceptional talent and wisdom of every (national football association) president and every member nation.
“When we all work together, football in Africa will experience success and growth that it has not enjoyed in the past,” he said.
Africa has not done well in the global stage tournaments. The continent suffered serious setbacks in recent years with all five qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia eliminated after the first round. That was the worst showing in 36 years.
Last November, his predecessor, Malagasy Ahmad Ahmad became the first CAF president to be banned by FIFA. Ahmad was issued a five-year suspension for “governance issues”. But it was later cut to two after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Just a few weeks ago, Motsepe, had fellow contestants like Ivorian Jacques Anouma, Mauritanian Ahmed Yahya, and Senegalese Augustin Senghor locked in an intriguing struggle for the presidency with him. But FIFA-brokered meetings of the contenders in Morocco and Mauritania led to mining magnate Motsepe becoming the sole candidate. Senghor and Yahya were given the first and second vice-president roles.
Anouma had initially declared the pact “undemocratic”. The former FIFA executive committee member is now a special advisor to Motsepe.
As some CAF officials railed against alleged interference by the world body, FIFA president Gianni Infantino played down the role of his organization.
“I am delighted that FIFA has been able to contribute, even if just a little, to this crucial moment for football on this great continent,” he said.