CAPE TOWN – In a bid to undo the stranglehold that North African countries have had on Caf for many years, Cosafa have lined up South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe to challenge for the Caf presidency at the March 12 elections in Morocco.
The 14-member Cosafa held the organisation’s Annual General Meeting in Johannesburg on Sunday. A highlight of the meeting was an address by Fifa president Giovanni Infantino.
South Africa’s Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, was among the guests.
Cosafa’s members include Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, SA, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Associate Member Reunion.
Because of the upcoming Caf elections, the discussion around who should be Caf’s presidency candidate took centre stage. Over the past few weeks, Motsepe travelled to several African countries to canvass support and his election campaign was managed by Safa president Danny Jordaan.
Cosafa president Phillip Chiyangwa afterwards declared Motsepe was the unanimous choice as the organisation’s candidate to lead football’s continental body over the next four years.
“Dr Motsepe is our candidate and we endorse him fully,” said Chiyangwa. “We believe he has the right mix of business acumen and connections in the corporate world to lead Caf through what will be a difficult period in the coming years.
“The name of Dr Motsepe is synonymous with good governance and integrity, and he is the perfect candidate to meet the challenges facing our football.
“Fifa president Gianni Infantino often talks of how unity is required in African football to move the game forward and we firmly believe Dr Motsepe can bring that.”
In the past, there have been questions around transparency, good governance, and integrity in Caf and Infantino’s address was to help revolutionise African football, especially in the Cosafa region.
“Cosafa is very important in this part of the world, and as part of the Fifa Forward programme, we introduced strong support to zonal organisations (like Cosafa),” said Infantino.
“Nevertheless, we can and want to do more so we need to be united and work together in a true spirit of cooperation.”
Infantino stressed the importance of Caf’s next four-year cycle because it leads up to the World Cup in 2026 when Africa’s participating teams will increase from five to nine or 10.
“Doubling the number of teams participating in the World Cup is crucial because it can have an impact on youth and the entire football community as it gives many more countries a chance to qualify,” said Infantino.
“This can trigger investments from governments and the private sector, which can help member associations further develop football in their countries.
“In order for African teams not only to participate but to shine at a world stage, the work has to start now. Africa should be united to get back what it has given to global football.”