March 12, 2021

Motsepe Elected CAF President

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… What does this mean for Zimbabwe?

By Mugove Chigada

THE rise of South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe to the Confederation of African Football presidency could do little to help Zimbabweans if the divisions among key local administrators continue.

Motsepe had the full backing of Cosafa president Philip Chiyangwa, a former Zifa president whose relationship with the current president, Felton Kamambo, is not that rosy.

Motsepe’s rise is also viewed to have involved FIFA president Gianni Infantino who was backing the South African. The South African billionaire was elected unopposed at the 43rd Ordinary General Assembly in Morocco on Friday, replacing Ahmad Ahmad.

This followed Ahmad’s failure to defend his position owing to a two-year FIFA ban over nepotism, corruption and embezzlement. The belief from the region is that although Ahmad rose with the help of the Cosafa block and Chiyangwa backing, there was very little in terms of reform at Caf to help the cause of Zimbabwe and other Southern African countries.

Zimbabwean clubs in the African club competitions continued to receive raw deals and the national team at times was also not spared.

And it has been the same fate for South African clubs, with the Caf leadership unable to clean the decaying system.

Motsepe brings hope.

His second point, in his manifesto, is that he seeks to “improve the efficiency and professionalism of Caf’s Competitions and its staff.”

But will Zimbabwe fully benefit from the rise of a South African candidate, especially from a country that has greatly contributed to the development of the local game?

Reality is that the next Zifa election will be crucial if the electorate can be able to align the association directly with Cosafa and Caf.

A good relationship with the pillars upon which Motsepe sits will be crucial, and anything less means the country may never be able to benefit fully from the South African billionaire at the top of the continent’s football body.

Senegal’s Augustin Senghor and Ahmed Yahya of Mauritania, who were interested in Motsepe’s post, will take up roles as the vice-presidents.

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