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South Africa back to test Africa’s waters

MQONDISI DUBE
Gunning for the top post: Motsepe has raised his hand PIC: GETTYIMAGES
In 2016, Tokyo Sexwale’s candidature for the FIFA presidency ended in disappointment.

His continent roundly rejected his candidacy after Africa federations felt the South African businessman had ignored his home ground.

After the failed bid, South Africa has returned to ask the continent to put billionaire, Patrice Motsepe in football’s top post. But will he succeed?

Motsepe is a well-known South African billionaire, philanthropist and owner of Mamelodi Sundowns.

His influence spreads across spheres and he has never struggled to entrench himself to his audience.

Football in South Africa long opened its arms to Motsepe and the subsequent millions he poured in.

He led a revolution at Sundowns after taking over from the Tsichlas family.

Sundowns have gone on to dominate the local scene, even winning the CAF Champions League in a hugely successful period under Motsepe.

The cornerstone of Sundowns’ success has been pegged on a president willing to splash the cash to ensure his stuff is in the right frame to deliver the goods. His success in the corporate sector, has rubbed on to the team, as Sundowns is a professionally run entity.

Now Motsepe has raised his hand for the continent’s top football post.

Botswana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone have not wasted time in

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endorsing Africa’s 10th richest man. The COSAFA region appears divided as it faces a choice between two candidates. Incumbent, Ahmad Ahmad is from Madagascar.

Motsepe has hardly suffered a defeat across spectrum and it remains to be seen if a continent that roundly rejected his fellow countryman, Sexwale, will approve of the South African’s candidature.

South Africa has often faced isolation due to what is seen as a ‘Big Brother’ mentality.

When the country bid for the 2010 World Cup, it was paraded as an African tournament, rather than an event solely for South Africa. But only crumbs fell the neighbours’ way, while South Africa enjoyed the larger piece of the cake.

Motsepe would be up against Ahmad, the Malagasy who stunned long serving Issah Hayatou in 2017.

But amid concerns of maladministration, Ahmad has seen Motsepe emerge as his main challenger. Ahmad recently received endorsement from 46 of the 54 CAF members, but it was before Motsepe threw his name in the race.

South Africa Football Association (SAFA) president, Danny Jordan tried unsuccessfully to unseat Hayatou in 2010.

Motsepe is the latest to enter the contest and test Africa’s waters.



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