Would Fifa have found a compromise between the four candidates competing for the presidency of CAF? The South African Patrice Motsepe would be brought at the head of CAF, the Senegalese Augustin Senghor would be its first vice-president and Mauritanian Ahmed Yahya, 2nd vice-president. As for the Ivorian Jacques Anouma, he would have a position as special advisor to the president.
« I respect him a lot (Gianni Infantino, president of the Fifa, editor’s note). When I decided to run, I called him, like some of his collaborators, and we exchanged views. I don’t have to deflower our conversation but for the most part, Infantino gives the same speech to all the candidates: this is a CAF election, not a Fifa election. Even if the elected president will be vice-president of the International Federation, » explained Senegalese Augustin Senghor last December in the columns of the daily L’Équipe.
Except that Infantino obviously has a say on the next president of CAF. Various sources report an arrangement found by Fifa to distribute the top management positions of CAF among candidates to succeed the Malagasy Ahmad who will know by March 3 if the Court of Arbitration for Sport lifts the sanction of ineligibility of five years by Fifa.
Fifa emissaries in Rabat
According to the Senegalese newspaper Sud-Quotidien, following a meeting held on 27 and 28 February in Rabat with the three West African candidates, two Fifa emissaries, the Swedish Mattias Grafström (principal assistant to the president of Fifa) and the Congolese Véron Mosengo-Omba (director of the division of associations members of Fifa) have reached an agreement on the distribution of roles in the future African executive. South Africa’s Patrice Motsepe, presented as a Fifa favourite, would take over the presidency. Senegal’s Augustin Senghor would be its first vice-president and Mauritania’s Ahmed Yahya would be its second vice-president. As for the Ivorian Jacques Anouma, he would be appointed « special adviser » to the president. No candidate for the presidency of CAF has reacted for the moment.
In recent weeks, Gianni Infantino has toured the African continent. Did he take the temperature with the heads of state to find out if the candidacy of Patrice Motsepe was appreciated, or did he come to share the choice of Fifa?
Patrice Motsepe, the tenth richest man on the African continent according to the latest ranking of the American magazine Forbes, was also the first black billionaire in South Africa and, with his 2.6 billion dollars, he is the third richest man in the country. One of his older sisters, Tshepo Motsepe, is the wife of the head of state, Cyril Ramaphosa.
Patrice Motsepe, President of FC Mamelodi Sundowns
Since 2004, he has been the president of FC Mamelodi Sundowns, the most successful football club in South Africa, which won the CAF Champions League in 2016 against the prestigious Egyptian team Zamalek. In 2017, the club won the African Super Cup. « I want to make my modest contribution in all circumstances to use sport to unite Africans, » said Thursday, February 25, the 58-year-old South African businessman, at a press conference. « We will succeed and we will make African football competitive at the international level, » he assured. The Fifa would have asked the candidates to determine before March 6. All must meet next weekend in Nouakchott in Mauritania for the final of the CAN U20. According to corroborating sources, Jacques Anouma could go alone against Motsepe.
In Rabat, on March 12, the voting system, one vote for each of the 54 federations, announced a disputed election. Never before had CAF had so many contenders for the title. « The Fifa is not looking for the ideal profile for African football but only a puppet, » said recently to AFP Bacary Cissé, head of the weekly sports weekly Senegal Record. In February, Fatma Samoura, secretary general of the Fifa, had assured in a Senegalese media that « the best candidate is the one chosen by the 54 African member federations of the CAF, according to their criteria. He added: « Let the best win. »