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Patrice Motsepe Wants Africa To Rule The Football World

Patrice Motsepe and wife
Patrice Motsepe and Precious Motsepe attend the amfAR's 23rd Cinema Against AIDS Gala at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France. Photo: Kevin Tachman

For the first time, Motsepe held the stage as supremo of African football yesterday when he addressed a media conference in Johannesburg. “The plan is for an African team to win the World Cup. We (CAF) want in the next four years an African country to win the World Cup,” said Motsepe.

“At the World Cup, we must win and be respected. All African teams must compete and do well globally. We can succeed, and we will succeed. ''Over the next nine to 12 months, I will visit our 54 member countries''. I will also have two more meetings this year with all the presidents of CAF member associations. I see in the past, they only met once a year. ''We will talk about the urgent steps we need to take to improve the game on the continent.''

Patrice Motsepe
Patrice Motsepe
Motsepe said people should not refrain from thinking big and should always be optimistic. He pointed to his optimism in his youth. “We must stop being pessimistic. We must recognize our failures and fix them. “When I was at university with my (future) wife, I used to say to her that one day I will own a soccer club,” said Mamelodi Sundowns FC owner Motsepe, who has made a name for himself as a business mogul and mining tycoon. 

“You must remember that time I didn’t even have five cents in my pocket. I had no money. “I should tell you, I made money by buying disused mines and mines that had been closed down. While studying in America, I researched how to make disused mines work. “I had to read up extensively and then make it happen.” He said that he would step down in four years if CAF did not progress during his reign as president. Since he now also serves as a Fifa vice-president, he has no plans to run for the Fifa presidency in the future. 

“This period of leadership will be judged not by my election manifesto but by results. “Results breed success. We must score goals and win. “I am not going to be president of an organization that four years from now has not made practical and tangible progress. It is not going to happen. “I can assure you that I have no intentions of running for the Fifa presidency, not at all. “I think that (current Fifa chief Giovanni) Infantino is doing a great job. He must be supported.”

Before he was appointed CAF president, Motsepe had to sever administrative ties with his club Mamelodi Sundowns, who won the CAF Champions League in 2016. He is, therefore, au fait with CAF prize money and payments from continental competitions. 

“We will increase sponsorship for Afcon (the African Cup of Nations) and the Champions League,” he said. “I had to take my own money to give Sundowns when they won the Champions League. The money was Ok, but not so Ok. “We need financing for the whole of the continent. We must get the private sector to sponsor African football. We must increase sponsorship significantly.”

Patrice Motsepe appointed Veron Mosengo-Omba as his new general secretary because he needed “somebody who can hit the ground running”. Veron is experienced and has interacted with not just most African football association (FA) heads personally‚ but most in the world as he has served as chief officer of Fifa’s member associations (MAs).

This required him to be in close contact with all 211 MAs. Motsepe‚ though‚ was questioned on the appointment of someone with dual Swiss and Democratic Republic of Congo citizenship. “We have to take these Africans who are what I call part of the diaspora.

"Whether it’s [Paul] Pogba‚ whether it’s [Kylian] Mbappe‚ or anyone who comes from Africa who are now citizens of other countries,” Motsepe said. “And I can tell you that many of those I’ve met‚ even those whose parents left and they grew up in Europe or America‚ have a deep emotional bond with Africa.

“We need them. So for me, it was important to send a message to the DRC‚ and to Africa‚ that in Veron we have got world-class material. “Veron loves Africa deeply. And he said to me‚ ‘I want to make a contribution. “The problem that I have is that I need results. And I need somebody who can hit the ground running.

“There are many bright‚ smart people who still need to go and learn and get exposed. Football is unlike any other industry.“ … And what I like is that when I mentioned Veron’s name in the presence of all of those [FA] presidents [at Caf’s assembly] they were so excited. "Because they were saying to me that‚ ‘We have been working with Veron for many‚ many years’.

“Here are these African presidents who have worked with Veron – because Veron was heading up the whole world in his position. “So I think we are deeply privileged to have Veron. And I am going to keep looking for some of the best‚ smartest Africans‚ whether they are in China or Japan. “And to the extent that they can partner with us to make African football better, we will keep engaging with them.”

Fifa‚ in a statement congratulating the new Caf general secretary‚ explained that: “Mr Mosengo-Omba initially joined Fifa in 2016 as Regional Member Associations (MAs) Director with responsibility for Africa and the Caribbean.

“He subsequently spent the past two years supporting all 211 Fifa MAs to implement the Fifa Forward development programme‚ as well as managing relationships with all Fifa MAs and continental confederations in his role as Chief Officer of the division.

“Mr Mosengo-Omba was particularly involved in supporting the 54 African MAs in their Fifa Forward projects‚ in the development of youth and women’s football throughout the continent‚ and in the recent implementation of the Fifa Covid-19 Relief Plan.” The Fifa Forward programme contributes to global stadium and development infrastructure.

Four days after being elected President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Patrice Motsepe set out his plans to take the sport forward across the continent at a press conference in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The 59-year-old South African mining billionaire assumed the role on Friday at a CAF General Assembly meeting in Morocco, without the need for a vote after a deal brokered by the world governing body FIFA saw his three challengers withdraw, leaving him as the only candidate.

Motsepe said that African football must aspire to have one of their national teams win the World Cup in the near future. "During the next World Cup and also during the forthcoming World Cups, that African nations compete (in) and, if you look at what we said in the manifesto, it's part of our plan that an African team must win the World Cup. I think let's clap hands for that.

"We have to, we need to get the private sector to sponsor African football. We must increase the sponsorship for the AFCON Africa Cup of Nations), make it significantly more substantial. We must increase the sponsorship for the Champions League, the African Champions League."

He also promised to be more proactive in bringing together the 56 member associations that make up the CAF. As the head of CAF, Motsepe automatically becomes a FIFA vice president and a member of the FIFA Council.

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