SANTA SUSANNA: Patrice Motsepe has been president of the Confederation of African Football since March 12, 2021, and his efforts in reviving the governing body of African football have not gone unnoticed. 

On April 30, the South African joined the AIPS Centenary Congress in Santa Susanna, Spain, via Zoom for a 30-minute session titled “AIPS Meets Patrice Motsepe”.

Motsepe took over a troubled African confederation in 2021. Two years prior, FIFA had appointed its then Secretary General Fatma Samoura as “General Delegate for Africa” to take charge of the organisation on a temporary basis. Then in 2020, Motsepe’s predecessor Ahmad Ahmad was banned from football for financial misconduct.

“What CAF looked like before I became president is at this stage of secondary importance. What is of primary importance is that CAF is now seen as a football federation where there’s governance, ethics and auditing in line with global best practices,” Motsepe told the AIPS Congress.

He added that it is key for football in Africa to compete with the best in the world and succeed. This is why he is very proud of Morocco’s achievement at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, where they became the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the global showpiece.

However Motsepe acknowledged that “big successes” don’t happen overnight and this is one reason why it is important to invest in youth and amateur football.

In 2021, the Motsepe Foundation, founded in 1999, donated USD$ 10million to the FIFA-CAF Pan-African School Football Championship, to support the development and growth of schools’ football in Africa. “I am very confident about the future of African football,” Motsepe enthused.


CAF President Patrice Motsepe speaking via Zoom at the 86th AIPS Congress (Photo by Carlo Pozzoni/AIPS Media)

RESTORING CAF Since becoming CAF President, Motsepe, a mining magnate who in 2008 became the first Black African to make Forbes’ list of billionaires, has been working hard to restore the confederation’s image and ensuring that CAF regained the trust of sponsors and partners. The Africa Cup of Nations, which took place in Cote d’Ivoire earlier this year was “the most successful in the history of African football”, according to Motsepe, who explained that the competition raked in $80 million, doubled sponsor numbers and attracted over 2 billion television viewers worldwide.

Increasing the prize money for CAF competitions has also been one of Motsepe’s achievements since he assumed office.

LAWYER, ENTREPRENEUR, PHILANTHROPIST Patrice Tlhopane Motsepe was born on January 28, 1962 in Soweto, South Africa. He graduated with an LLB in 1988 from the University of the Witwatersrand and also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Law from the University of Swaziland. Motsepe joined law firm Bowman Gilfillan after graduating, specialising in mining and business law and became the first black lawyer to be made a partner in 1994. That same year he founded Future Mining which grew rapidly to become a successful contract mining company and then ARMgold in 1997. Motsepe and his wife Prcious established the Motsepe Foundation in 1999 to fund and support educational, religious, and healthcare projects that combat poverty and improve the socio-economic conditions of the poor, unemployed, and marginalised communities. The owner of Mamelodi Sundowns, one of the most successful football clubs in South Africa, explained that the family went into football because they saw it as an important tool to create opportunities and to educate. Motsepe is a recipient of numerous business and leadership awards and recognitions.

With less than a year to the end of his first term as CAF President, Motsepe is keeping his cards close to his chest on whether he will stand for re-election. However, he has always expressed his commitment to establish a strong foundation that will foster lasting growth in CAF.

CRITICAL ROLE OF JOURNALISTS Motsepe did not forget to congratulate the International Sports Press Association as it celebrates its Centenary in Santa Susanna, emphasising the importance of journalists in the sports landscape. “I want to congratulate you for the excellent work you are doing and for your 100 years.”