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South African Businessman Motsepe To Stand For CAF President

South African Businessman Motsepe To Stand For CAF President

Billionaire South African businessman Patrice Motsepe entered the race to be president of the African soccer confederation on Monday.

CAPE TOWN, South Africa: Billionaire South African businessman Patrice Motsepe entered the race to be president of the African soccer confederation on Monday.

Motsepe, who owns South African club Mamelodi Sundowns, announced he was standing and was backed by South African soccer association president Danny Jordaan, who is a vice president of the Confederation of African Football and an executive committee member.

Nigerian federation president Amaju Pinnick, who initially considered standing himself, also supported Motsepe’s bid, as did Sierra Leone federation president Isha Johansen. Pinnick and Johansen are also on CAF’s executive committee.

Its not just endorsing him, Pinnick said. We will work night and day in ensuring he gets elected. And I can assure you 100% that Patrice Motsepe will be the next president of CAF.

Motsepe did not attend the announcement at the South African soccer association headquarters in Johannesburg because he was in self-isolation and may have contracted COVID-19, organizers said. Current African soccer president Ahmad Ahmad is also in self-isolation in a hotel in Cairo after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Three men have now declared they will stand for the presidency of CAF in the election in Morocco in March and have received the backing of their national soccer association, as is required. Ahmad, the incumbent who is from Madagascar, and Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast, a former member of the FIFA executive committee, are the others.

Ahmad won in 2017 over Issa Hayatou, who had led African soccer for 29 years and was a FIFA veteran and considered almost unbeatable in CAF presidential votes.

But Ahmad’s leadership has come under extensive scrutiny during his first term in office. He has been accused of misconduct and is the subject of a FIFA ethics committee investigation, which might still rule him out of running in the African election. CAF was effectively taken over by FIFA and run by its secretary general, Fatma Samoura, for six months last year amid claims the African confederation had become dysfunctional under Ahmad.

Johansen said Monday that Ahmads reign had been a disappointment.

Finally, we may have just got it right this time, she said in reference to Motsepe’s candidacy.

Still, Ahmad’s campaign has claimed support from 46 of the 54 national soccer associations in Africa who will vote in the election. Only four national associations made it clear on Monday that they were supporting Motsepe. They were South Africa, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Botswana.

“(Motsepe) has a formidable chance to win this election without reference to what anyone says, Jordaan said.

The 58-year-old Motsepe was a surprise candidate. He is a hugely successful businessman who made his money in mining. He also has strong political connections. His sister is married to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The CAF president automatically becomes a vice president of FIFA and a member of the governing body’s decision-making council.

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