South African mining magnate, Dr Patrice Motsepe is in the running to become the next president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), the country’s top football authority confirmed on Monday.
The billionaire has been heavily involved with the sport for the best part of two decades, and owns 2016 Caf Champions League winners Mamelodi Sundowns.
Patrice Motsepe backed for Caf presidency
The South African Football Association (Safa) held an urgent media conference on Monday, where they confirmed the 58-year-old’s candidacy for the top job, ahead of Thursday’s deadline.
The announcement was made at Safa House, with Sports, Arts and Culture minister, Nathi Mthethwa present, alongside the organisation’s president, Danny Jordaan. The man of the moment, Motsepe was missing from the presser after reportedly coming in contact with a COVID-19 case.
“The Safa national executive committee approved by overwhelming majority the decision that we must support the candidacy of Patrice Motsepe for the position of president of Caf,” Jordaan said.
Dr Danny Jordaan
Other federations backing Motsepe are Botswana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
“He has more superior qualities than me,” Nigeria’s Amaju Pinnick, who withdrew his candidacy, told BBC Sport Africa. “It’s not about me, it’s about African football. If you have someone with superior qualities, you have to learn from him and queue behind him and wait for your time.”
The race for Africa’s top job
Competing alongside Motsepe for the role is controversial incumbent, Ahmad Ahmad from Madagascar, who has held the position since 2017.
The 60-year-old announced his candidacy in October, but might find re-election to come difficult, following his arrest by French anti-corruption authorities, where he escape without being formally charged. Ahmad has maintained his innocence amid the controversy.
Motsepe has been involved with South African football when he purchased a 51% stake at Sundowns, later purchasing the remaining shares to become the club’s sole owner.
He has also contributed to the game’s development with the establishment of the ABC Motsepe League, which operates as the country’s third-tier senior men’s league.