By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
Cosafa supremo and former Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa on Thursday sent a chilling message to aspiring Caf president Patrice Motsepe’s opponents, warning that if they choose to go dirty they too will not hesitate to play the same game.
Motsepe will contest against Augustine Emmanuel Senghor, the Senegalese Football Federation president, Jacques Bernard Daniel Anouma, the honorary Ivorian Federation president as well as Mauritanian Football Federation president Ahmed Yahya for the most powerful African football post.
Speaking during the South African business mogul, Motsepe’s manifesto launch ahead of the elections that are set for Morocco on March 12, Chiyangwa said: “We will fight like everybody else, if they go dirty we go dirty, if they go smart we go smart. That’s the name of the game.”
The Webcam Press conference was also attended by South African Minister of Sports Nathi Mthethwa, South African Football Association president Danny Jordan, Cosafa member states football association presidents as well as Nigerian Football Association president Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who took the opportunity to inform Motsepe that West Africa was excited by his candidature and were fully behind him.
Pinnick predicted between 35 and 40 votes for Motsepe.
Chiyangwa, who is also the official campaign manager for Motsepe, said they were confident of surpassing the winning figure of outgoing Caf president Ahmad, who polled 35 votes.
“We are endorsing the candidature of Patrice Motsepe, as a regional bloc, which has 14 countries, whether there will be one or two (member countries who might not endorse) as a region that is our position
“There are 54 countries and we are saying the last time we had Ahmad we did 35 so this time am looking at more than that.
“One thing I want to say is that I present a candidate who is a huge force in Africa, not only in economic terms, but we are talking about a comparative annalysis on the candidates that were given to us by Africa as football fanatics.
“Put Patrice here and the other candidates there and tell me what you think. This is in respect of what these people have achieved in their personal lives.
“Sometimes we have had problems of having to push people into office. We did that the last time because the constitution we were fighting was that which Issa Hayatou put in place which barred those outside Caf structures to run for office, not this time around,’’ said Chiyangwa.
He said he believes Motsepe has no real competition of note hence his conviction that they were on course to garner more than 35 votes.
“Patrice seriously has no competition. I must state as a matter of fact that we are fighting upwards of the Ahmad numbers, which is 35, and those in competition must brace themselves that this time around it’s a much more aggressive fight; there are very few days left and we should be able to hit that number. Motsepe is a winner, he has endevoured in many directions, we don’t want to embarrass you Motsepe and we promise you that we will do everything to ensure that you are victorious.
“You are a totally new person in this ball game and you are a breath of relief and fresh air, not looking for office because you want to look inside the coffers, this is different. We have not grown as a football continent because people were looking for a way or place to go and feed their bellies.
“Patrice is different, unfortunately that is not a record that I have of some people that want to occupy the same office,’’ said Chiyangwa. The Chronicle.