Football Africa has a new president. We will refrain from adding the adjective « elected » even if, officially, he was elected by acclamation. The South African Patrice Motsepe, who became the only candidate in the running at the behest of a FIFA president anxious to preserve his grip on the continent, was finally appointed president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Friday in Rabat (Morocco), where the 43rd general assembly of the body is being held.
The 59-year-old, who is South Africa’s third richest man and Africa’s 10th richest man, has taken his place in the chair vacated by Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad, who has gone from being Infantino’s former protégé to a banished member of the Rabat table, where the cake is shared. Motsepe, who is the lucky beneficiary of the Rabat protocol, will be assisted by Augustin Senghor (1st vice-president), Ahmed Yahya (2nd vice-president), Souleiman Waberi (3rd vice-president) and Jacques Anouma, who has been appointed as special adviser to the president. The positions of 4th and 5th vice-presidents are occupied respectively by the inusable Moroccan Fouzi Lekjaa and the Nigerian Amaju Pinnick, while the Congolese Constant Selemani Omari, for a long time 1st vice-president and recently interim president following the sanctions against Ahmad Ahmad, is ejected completely from the governance of African football.
As soon as the selection was validated, the brand new president of CAF shared a speech in the sobriety that has so far characterised his career. « It is an immense honour for me, » he said to « the great family of African football », whose unity he praised.
In the wake of this, his mentor also praised this unity. « You all have the same vision today, it is the celebration of this unity, » said Fifa President Gianni Infantino at the opening of the General Assembly, which also saw the election of other members of the CAF Executive Committee.