Sunday Mar 07, 2021. 14:00
South African businessman Patrice Motsepe has emerged as the clear favourite for the impending Confederation of African Football (CAF) presidential elections.
This follows confirmation that Senegalese candidate Augustin Senghor has officially withdrawn from the race and pledged his support to the Mamelodi Sundowns owner.
Ivorian Jacques Anouma has also announced his withdrawal, and there are reports that Mauritanian FF president Ahmed Yahya will follow suit as part of a deal brokered by FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
According to Times Live, Senghor has revealed that he and Yahya will serve as Motsepe’s vice-presidents, while Anouma is set to be advisor to the new president.
Anouma, confirmed his withdrawal on Ivory Coast television, saying: “After several reflections and consultations, I decided to give up my candidacy for the election to the presidency of CAF.”
Senghor’s statement reads: “After consultations with the Senegalese authorities during the discussions in Rabat and the approval of the FSF emergency committee during its meeting held on Tuesday March 2, 2021, taking into account the particular context of this campaign, we have decided to accept the consensual proposal submitted to us by FIFA, Morocco and Egypt, in the name of the superior interest of the unity of African football that we have put forward in our profession of faith.
“It seems to us that this is the best decision that we could take after a lucid analysis of the current situation of CAF and of the imperative need to favour a synergy of actions of all the skills to rectify it: a team, a team to raise African football.”
The statement continues: “The withdrawal of my candidacy for the presidency of CAF for the benefit of another candidate will not be shared by all for various reasons, I am aware of this. But I think it’s a good decision, the right decision.
“Achieving the objective of a strong, united, more efficient and more attractive CAF is worth all the sacrifices, even that of renouncing legitimate personal ambitions in favour of collective and participatory leadership, the only guarantee of a rebirth of CAF expected by all Africans.”
Previous CAF president Ahmad Ahmad was banned from football for five years by FIFA for ethics violations in November last year.
He reclaimed his post as president when appealing the ban in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with his case set to be heard this week, but a late entrance into the elections is unlikely to be successful.