Senegalese candidate for the Confederation of African Football (Caf) presidency, Augustin Senghor, has officially withdrawn from the race and pledged his support for South Africa’s Patrice Motsepe.
With Ivorian Jacques Anouma also confirming his withdrawal, Motsepe is set to be confirmed as Caf president at the March 12 elective congress in Rabat, Morocco. This follows reports that Senegalese Football Federation president Senghor and Mauritanian FF president Ahmed Yahya had agreed, in a deal brokered by Fifa president Gianni Infantino, to withdraw their candidacies in a meeting in Rabat last weekend.
Senghor, in a statement announcing his withdrawal, confirmed the meeting, where it was agreed that Senghor and Yahya would serve as Motsepe’s vice-presidents. The fourth candidate, 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.”
Anouma, also part of the meeting in Rabat, reportedly agreed to a role as Motsepe’s adviser.
Motsepe’s candidacy was first announced, seemingly as a rank outsider, by the SA Football Association (Safa) in November. The Mamelodi Sundowns owner and billionaire mining magnate and Safa president Danny Jordaan travelled the continent campaigning. Motsepe had been backed by the influential support of Cosafa president Phillip Chiyangwa, Nigerian FA president Amaju Pinnick and TP Mazembe owner Moise Katumbi.
Previous Caf president Ahmad Ahmda, who overthrew the 29-year reign of Issa Hayatou in 2017 backed by Jordaan, Chiyangwa and Pinnick, was banned from football for five years by Fifa for ethics violations in November.
Ahmad has an appeal against his ban being heard, from last Tuesday, at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) in Lausanne, but even if he is successful an attempt by the Madagascan to enter the presidential race at this late stage would appear futile.
This will be the first time that the powerful Caf presidency, that comes with another high ranking Fifa position, is held by an administrator from the Southern Africa region. The Sunday News