CAF presidential hopeful Patrice Motsepe on Thursday launched his manifesto in the build up to the elective congress of the continental football governing body in Morocco next month.
The key message from the well-attended event at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg was that the Mamelodi Sundowns is the favourite to win the race that includes Augustin Senghor of Senegal, Ivory Coast’s Jacques Anouma and Ahmed Yahya of Mauritania for the polls in Rabat, Morocco on March 12.
Motsepe is guaranteed “35 votes upwards” in his bid to succeed Ahmad Ahmad, according to Cosafa president Phillip Chiyangwa, who promised that the 14 votes from the region will go to the mining mogul.
If these numbers are anything to go by, Motsepe will have more than the minimum of 28 a candidate requires to land the top job.
“This is not an undertaking of Motsepe on his own, it’s for all of us,” said Motsepe as he revealed his 10-point action plan at the event that was also streamed live in French, Arabic and Spanish.
“There is misinformation that if I’m elected, we’re going to use my position to embarrass Morocco … [this is] totally incorrect, [it’s] false. The rules are very clear [that] you don’t pursue politics in sport.
“I am going to use football to unite all of our people on the continent. I have to respect the policies and the rules of the organisation and that of my government.”
Motsepe said “95% of what we are going to talk about must be about football” and the emphasis should around good governance principles and ethics.
Surprisingly, Motsepe said he was reluctant to stand at first even after he was asked to do so four times. Eventually Safa convinced him.
While he oozed energy and sounded optimistic that he would clinch the CAF top seat, Motsepe warned that the real test would not be about the promises but “what we’ve achieved a few years down the line”.
“We can’t talk about how beautiful we played but we must score. We have to win,” he said.
Motsepe said the timelines were key – to check what the achievements and failures are along the way. His view is that the CAF general assembly meeting should be held twice and not once as stipulated by the statutes.
If elected, the 59-year-old said he would visit all the African countries within nine to 12 months to initiate discussions with CAF member association presidents to identify and implement priority development projects.
“We gonna run that CAF in a manner that is world-class,” vowed Motsepe, as he wished fellow candidates well.
He also hinted that under his leadership, CAF would restructure the continent’s flagship national and club competitions – the Afcon and the Champions League – in the next two years.
Among high-profile dignitaries at the manifesto launch included the Democratic Republic Congo club TP Mazembe owner Moïse Katumbi, football federation presidents such as Nigeria’s Amaju Pinnick, Adam Bomber Mthethwa from Eswatini and their counterparts from Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe and Benin.
PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza and Motsepe’s bid campaign manager, Safa president Danny Jordaan, who are said not to be seeing eye to eye, sat side by side. Khoza is the Safa vice-president.
Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa as well as Safa honorary president Molefi Oliphant, were also present.
While there were concerns if the South African delegation would be allowed to enter Morocco after Kaizer Chiefs were barred by the North African country, Motsepe said: “At the right time we’ll get visas.”
Jordaan also assured that there won’t be issues to attend the elective congress.
- Investing in the development and growth of football in each country as well as building partnerships and sponsorships with the private sector and other potential partners.
- Improving the efficiency and professionalism of CAF’s competition and its staff.
- Implementing and adhering to governance and auditing global best practises.
- Investing in African football infrastructure – to build sustainable and commercially viable structures.
- Investing in our youth and the future of African football – cited rugby model as an example.
- Developing and growing women’s football.
- Protecting the integrity and professionalising refereeing.
- Video assistant referee – will be implemented at all CAF senior competitions.
- Statutory reforms – changes that are essential to improve the efficiency of CAF.
- Partnership with Fifa and other continental governing bodies.