KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Contenders for the leadership of African football are already starting to line up as the possibility of an ethics ban from football hangs over the head of Ahmad Ahmad.
The Madagascar administrator has announced an intention to stand for re-election for a second four-year team in Morocco in the spring. However he may never be eligible by then because of issues arising out of his reign.
Most notable contender for the presidency of the African confederation CAF is Patrice Motsepe, supposedly the 10th richest man in Africa, and owner of the 2016 African club champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
The South African will be running against not only Ahmad but also old CAF campaigner Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast, a former member of the old FIFA executive committee, as well Mauritania’s Ahmed Yahya
Motsepe’s candidacy was confirmed at a Johanesburg press conference by SAFA president Danny Jordaan who claimed the 58-year-old had significant support including Nigeria, Botswana and Sierra Leone.
Nigerian backing would be intriguing because NFA supremo Amaju Pinnick was an influential supporter of Ahmad last time around.
Jordaan said: “Patrice Motsepe is the most appropriate person we could offer for the leadership of CAF. We do not want any compromise on governance or ethics in football.”
The candidate did not attend the press conference because he is in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 so the task was left to Jordaan accompanied by South Africa’s Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
Motsepe, who built a multi-million mining and business empire through African Rainbow Minerals, is married to the fashion entrepreneur Precious Moloi. Forbes has reported his personal worth as $2.1bn.
He talked himself into a storm last January when he told United States President Donald Trump that Africa loved him. Motsepe made the remarks to Trump at a business dinner during the World Economic Forum in Davos. Critics around Africa criticised his assumption of assuming the right to speak on behalf of the continent.
Motsepe’s path to CAF power will be far from straightforward because African football is split between the continent’s various ethnic and linguistic power blocks. No southern African has ever held the top job.
Ahmad ousted Cameroon’s long-serving Issa Hayatou as CAF president.
He stood for the presidency initially on a platform promising administrative reform, financial transparency and a potential competitions reorganisation. However all of this was soon relegated to the shadows by a damning report about the realities submitted to FIFA in spring 2019 by Amr Fahmy, then the CAF secretary-general.
Fahmy claimed he had been ordered by Ahmad to pay $20,000 in bribes into accounts of African FA presidents and that CAF had incurred $830,000 in costs by axing an equipment contract with Puma in favour of a little-known French intermediary named Tactical Steel.
The report also accused Ahmad of harassing four female members of the CAF staff, amending statutes to increase Moroccan representation within the organisation and over-spending more than $400,000 of CAF money on cars in Egypt and Madagascar, where Ahmad had created a local office for himself.
Ahmad denied all the accusations; Fahmy was sacked.
The following June, also in 2019, Ahmad, one of FIFA’s seven vice-presidents, was detained for 12 hours for questioning by French police while in Paris attending FIFA Congress. No charges were brought.
Two weeks later FIFA sent its Senegalese secretary-general Fatma Samoura to effectively take over the running of Ahmad’s disfunctonal CAF for six months.