Motsepe all but assured of CAF Presidency
South Africa’s Patrice Motsepe appears all but assured of becoming Confederation of African Football (CAF) President after his rivals Jacques Anouma, Augustin Senghor and Ahmed Yahya all agreed to withdraw and support his candidacy.
The agreement to support Motsepe’s candidacy had been secured in Rabat, which will host the CAF Presidential election this week.
Reports last week said Senegal’s Senghor and Mauritania’s Yahya had agreed to step aside from race, with the pair claimed to have accepted vice-president positions.
Anouma, Honorary President of the Ivorian Football Federation, will reportedly be named as an advisor to Motsepe.
The agreement was secured following FIFA President Gianni Infantino conducting an African tour, where he met with the four candidates.
Infantino has denied influencing the election, but continued to stress the importance of African unity.
"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," Infantino said.
"The agreement reached by the candidates is a strong signal for Africa, and also for the world.
"Africa is present and is a key player for the future of global football.
"This is also a sign of unity and commitment in bringing African football to the very top level where it should be.
"A united Africa behind a concrete vision and project is stronger.
"United we are stronger.
"This is what we were hearing from the African member associations in the last weeks, so I am sure they are also very happy at this moment.
"There are some great challenges ahead, but also great opportunities, and I guarantee FIFA’s support and encouragement to fulfil them, especially in line with FIFA Forward objectives related to infrastructure investment, good governance, development and competitions."
It is claimed that a common programme is being developed, based on the initial manifestos of the four candidates.
FIFA says this will include contributions of all African member associations and stakeholders in a participatory and inclusive process.
Motsepe is the current owner of South African Premier Soccer League side Mamelodi Sundowns, who were crowned winners of the CAF Champions League in 2016.
Motsepe is the founder and chairman of African Rainbow Minerals.
He is considered to be among Africa’s richest men.
"African football needs collective wisdom, but also the exceptional talent and wisdom of every President of every country and every member association," Motsepe said.