CAPE TOWN - Newly elected Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Patrice Motsepe has outlined his ambitious plans for an African team to win the Fifa World Cup in the future.
For the first time, Motsepe held the stage as supremo of African football yesterday when he addressed a media conference in Johannesburg.
“The plan is for an African team to win the World Cup. We (CAF) want in the next four years an African country to win the World Cup,” said Motsepe.
“At the World Cup, we must win and be respected. All African teams must compete and do well globally. We can succeed, and we will succeed.
“Over the next nine to 12 months, I will visit our 54 member countries. I will also have two more meetings this year with all the presidents of CAF member associations. I see in the past, they only met once a year.
“We will talk about the urgent steps we need to take to improve the game on the continent.
“We (CAF officials) must see that African football is globally competitive, and self-sustaining.”
Motsepe said people should not refrain from thinking big and should always be optimistic. He pointed to his optimism in his youth.
“We must stop being pessimistic. We must recognise our failures and fix them.
“When I was at university with my (future) wife, I used to say to her that one day I will own a soccer club,” said Mamelodi Sundowns FC owner Motsepe, who has made a name for himself as a business mogul and mining tycoon.
“You must remember that time I didn’t even have five cents in my pocket. I had no money.
“I should tell you, I made money by buying disused mines and mines that had been closed down. While studying in America, I researched how to make disused mines work.
“I had to read up extensively and then make it happen.”
He said that he would step down in four years if CAF did not progress during his reign as president.
Since he now also serves as a Fifa vice-president, he has no plans to run for the Fifa presidency in the future. “This period of leadership will be judged not by my election manifesto but by results.
“Results breed success. We must score goals and win.
“I am not going to be president of an organisation that four years from now has not made practical and tangible progress. It is not going to happen.
“I can assure you that I have no intentions of running for the Fifa presidency, not at all.
“I think that (current Fifa chief Giovanni) Infantino is doing a great job. He must be supported.”
Before he was appointed CAF president, Motsepe had to sever administrative ties with his club Mamelodi Sundowns, who won the CAF Champions League in 2016.
He is, therefore, au fait with CAF prize money and payments from continental competitions.
“We will increase sponsorship for Afcon (the African Cup of Nations) and the Champions League,” he said.
“I had to take my own money to give Sundowns when they won the Champions League. The money was Ok, but not so Ok.
“We need financing for the whole of the continent. We must get the private sector to sponsor African football. We must increase sponsorship significantly.”
Motsepe said he would turn to Premier Soccer League chairman Irvin Khosa to help resolve the issue of acquiring TV broadcast rights for CAF matches. “He (Khosa) has been exceptional in negotiating TV rights. We will use his skills,” said Motsepe.
Conference host Danny Jordaan, the president of the South African Football Association, said that under Motsepe’s leadership CAF would revive its financial fortunes and reputation.
“We can expect that solidarity and unity will be the pillars of strength during his reign,” said Jordaan.
“He knows how to win trophies as he did with Sundowns. We now look to him to win trophies for Africa on the global stage.”