South Africa’s Patrice Motsepe on Friday emerged as the President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), taking over from Ahmad Ahmad.
“Africa needs collective wisdom, but also the exceptional talent and wisdom of every (national football association) president and every member nation,” he said.
“When we all work together, football in Africa will experience success and growth that it has not enjoyed in the past.”
Africa has suffered serious setbacks in recent years with all five qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia eliminated after the first round — the continent’s worst showing in 36 years.
Last November, Malagasy Ahmad Ahmad became the first CAF president to be banned by FIFA, with a five-year suspension for “governance issues” cut to two after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
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Just a few weeks ago, Motsepe, Ivorian Jacques Anouma, Mauritanian Ahmed Yahya and Senegalese Augustin Senghor were locked in an intriguing struggle for the presidency.
But FIFA-brokered meetings of the contenders in Morocco and Mauritania led to mining magnate Motsepe becoming the sole candidate. Senghor and Yahya were given the first and second vice-president roles.
Anouma, who initially declared the pact “undemocratic”, is a former FIFA executive committee member and becomes a special advisor to Motsepe.
As some CAF officials railed against alleged interference by the world body, FIFA president Gianni Infantino played down the role of his organisation.
“I am delighted that FIFA has been able to contribute, even if just a little, to this crucial moment for football on this great continent,” he said.
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