South African Dr Patrice Motsepe has been elected unopposed to the position of President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) at the organisation’s congress in Rabat, Morocco on Friday.
There were also a number of other individuals from the COSAFA region who won vital seats on the CAF executive committee in what is a fresh start for African football.
Dr Motsepe becomes the eighth full-time president of CAF, taking over from Ahmad Ahmad, who won election in 2017 but was later banned from football for five years, shortened to two on appeal, by FIFA.
Billionaire businessman DR Motsepe, who owns the South African club Mamelodi Sundowns, is the first person from his country to hold the position and the second overall from the COSAFA region.
COSAFA President Dr Phillip Chiyangwa was among the first to congratulate Dr Motsepe.
“We wish to congratulate Dr Patrice Motsepe on his election as CAF President today,” Dr Chiyangwa said. “As COSAFA we have no doubt that he will take African football to an international standard, premised on good corporate governance, accountability and integrity, which are crucial to take the game forward on the continent.”
The 59-year-old Dr Motsepe stood unopposed for the presidency after the other nominees pulled out of the race.
Augustin Senghor from Senegal and Mauritania Football Federation president Ahmed Yahya were instead appointed vice-presidents, while Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast will take up a role of special advisor.
Dr Motsepe has promised to bring his business acumen and extensive network to commercialise CAF’s properties and put the organisation back on a sound financial footing.
“It is a huge honour and privilege for me,” Dr Motsepe said. “We can only deal with the challenges (we face) through unity, and we will succeed. We can make African football amongst the best of the world.”
FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who was in Rabat, was quick to congratulate Motsepe.
“I want to wish all the very best for the next four years, to the new leading team of CAF, of African football, and to Patrice Motsepe, to all those who have been involved, to Augustin, Ahmed, Jacques and everyone. I want to assure you that FIFA is at your side. FIFA is together with you,” he said.
“I have already said it, and I say it again. We must stop saying that it is necessary to develop African football. It is about projecting it to the summit of world football. The time for talking has stopped.
“We must move on, and we must move on as a team: as a CAF team and a FIFA team that also includes all the confederations and associations from all over the world. You are CAF. You are FIFA.”
Meanwhile, Botswana Football Association President Maclean Letshwiti and Seychelles Football Federation president Elvis Chetty were elected to the CAF executive committee from the COSAFA region, along with Kanizat Ibrahim from the Comoros, who takes up the position made available for a women’s representative.
Malawi FA President Walter Nyamilandu lost out in the race for a FIFA Council seat after Nigeria FA president Amaju Pinnick beat him in the vote. Zambia FA President Andrew Kamanga pulled out before the ballot.