South African mining tycoon Patrice Motsepe has been named the new president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) during its 43rd Ordinary General Assembly in Rabat, Morocco, on March 12.
Motsepe qualified for the election alongside three other nominees after passing a FIFA integrity check in January. His competitors vying for the presidency included Jacques Anouma of Cote d’Ivoire, Augustin Senghor of Senegal and Ahmed Yaya of Mauritania.
With the mediation of FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Anouma, Senghor and Yaya withdrew from the race to assume vice president and advisor roles, thus allowing Motsepe to run uncontested. He is the first English-speaking president in CAF history.
Motsepe replaces Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad, whose three-year reign was riddled with corruption allegations. Africanews reported that Ahmad was banned in November 2020 because FIFA ethics judges found him guilty of corruption, stating that he “breached his duty of loyalty, offered gifts and other benefits, mismanaged funds, and abused his position as the CAF president.”
Until election week, many believed the former CAF head would run against Motsepe. But the outgoing president was barred from participating only days before the election during a mandatory FIFA review of would-be candidates’ integrity and eligibility.
Motsepe said his core objectives for African football are to foster unity, initiate good governance and make room for statutory reforms. He also said that he plans to attract investors to African football and facilitate the growth of Africa’s sporting infrastructure.
Motsepe is also a philanthropist. In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic reached South Africa, the tycoon donated 1 billion South African rand ($66.9 million) to the government to help cushion the situation through his Motsepe Family Foundation in partnership with associated companies and organizations, News24 reported.