Motsepe's 'Africa loves Trump' gaffe could affect CAF presidency bid

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Patrice Motsepe (Gallo Images)
Patrice Motsepe (Gallo Images)
  • Patrice Motsepe's "Africa loves Donald Trump" comment earlier in the year could affect his bid in the coming CAF presidential elections.
  • Motsepe is up against Ahmad Ahmad (Madagascar), Augustin Senghor (Senegal), Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast) and Amid Yahya (Mauritius).
  • Incumbent Ahmad, however, has just been banned by FIFA for five years because of financial indiscretions.

It has been likened to getting into bed with the devil - and although billionaire Patrice Motsepe made a partial apology for his "Africa loves Donald Trump" comment earlier in the year, the lingering memory of the astonishing gaffe about the controversial US President by the Mamelodi Sundowns owner could affect his bid in the coming CAF presidential elections.

Motsepe, with his attempt to head African soccer's controlling body launched by the South African Football Association (SAFA), is one of five candidates, including current incumbent Madagascar's Ahmad Ahmad, who are vying for the CAF president post when the elections are held in March.

Ahmad, however, has just been banned by FIFA for five years because of financial indiscretions and despite his proclaimed intention to appeal the penalty, his bid for re-election would seem in considerable jeopardy.

The others in what could emerge a tough, no-holds-barred presidency battle are Senegal president Augustin Senghor, the Ivory Coast's Jacques Anouma and Amid Yahya from Mauritius.

Trump, US President since 2016 but set to be defeated by Joe Biden, is widely despised in Africa - and around the world for that matter - for his often rude remarks, incessant and compulsive lies and countless allegations of corruption, having suggested among his many indiscretions that African nations were "sh**holes."

He led a groundless, vicious campaign insinuating that Barack Obama was not born in America before he became the first black man to be elected president of the United States and although comprehensively beaten by Biden now, refuses to accept the outcome of the recent elections.

Following the outcry that followed in the wake of his extraordinary comment that Africa loves Trump, the Sundowns boss and chairperson of the African Rainbows Mining Empire conceded he had no right to have spoken on behalf of the continent, while adding his motive was to improve the relations between South Africa and the United States.

But at no time has he reversed his personal feelings on the delicate matter.

Motsepe's less-than-unreserved apology has not obliterated the disgust many on the African continent retain for the initial praise towards Trump and is likely to be a factor in the CAF elections - despite the multi-billionaire mogul's immense services to South African soccer generally, which included transforming Sundowns into the most successful club in the country, as well as his philanthropic acts that extend beyond the frontiers of sporting activity.

What is more, it is something of a riddle as to why Motsepe is standing for the continent's problem-riddled soccer presidency at all, with so many other commitments - business and otherwise as the third wealthiest person in the country - with most of CAF's business emanating from their headquarters in Egypt where he would need to spend considerable time.

Also, if elected CAF president, Motsepe would need to relinquish the Sundowns' presidency.

Could it be that after several failed sorties to become CAF president himself, SAFA president Danny Jordaan sees Motsepe as a viable and attractive candidate to represent South Africa's and SAFA's interests in a more sympathetic light, while breaking what has been likened as a North African stranglehold on the organisation?

In this respect the amiable Motsepe certainly has a great deal going for him - while the CAF administration and many member nations have in the past viewed South Africa in the light of attempting to usurp their own control and power because of its wealth.

Could Motsepe fall foul of this doctrine with his R30-billion or so fortune? And then there is the gory link and acclaim for what most Africans feel is a despicable, racist foe in Trump and anything but a friend of the continent.

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