Who will be the next CAF president?
The question on all the minds in the African football milieu is: who will be the next president of the African Football Confederation on March 12, 2021, in Rabat? On November 23, 2020, the FIFA Ethics Committee suspended Madagascan Ahmad Ahmad for 5 years with a fine of 185,000 Euros for mismanagement, he who was a candidate to his own succession. On the starting blocks, there are four high-profile and ambitious candidates. Between Barrister Senghor from Senegal, Ahmed Yahya from Mauritania, Patrice Motsepe from South Africa and Jacques Anouma from Ivory Coast, who is worth what on the continental chessboard?
1- Augustin Emmanuel Senghor
Experience as an argument
Barrister Augustin Emmanuel Senghor dreams of a united, attractive and more efficient African football. He made this known during the press briefing organized at the headquarters of the Senegalese Football Federation (FSF), the day after he submitted his candidacy for the CAF presidency. Long undecided about his participation in the next election, Barrister Senghor is now ready to take up the challenge with the firm conviction of creating a positive dynamic around football. "We must work exclusively and continuously in the interests of African football with strong leadership," he said bluntly.
Augustin Senghor presents himself as the chosen candidate. “A lot of federation presidents have urged me to be a candidate. I was not feelingless to this mark of consideration and confidence from my African peers, "he proclaims, while expressing his gratitude to the CAF Executive Committee of which he is a member. Aware of the challenges faced by the confederation, he readily admits that the difficult times that CAF went through in recent years cannot be attributed exclusively to its leaders, reason why he is determined to bring together all positive energies around his candidacy.
It is an experienced man who is about to take the reins of the Confederation of African Football. At 55, this native of Gorée believes first of all in his intellectual capacities, his ethical and moral values and above all, he thinks he is this visionary who will take the African football out of the rut in order to place it on the ramps of development. To achieve his goals, the man would like to count on his support but also on his long experience in the associative and sporting milieu. As a matter of fact, he has often put his extensive experience at the service of institutions in charge of managing football broadcasting rights, such as the African Union of Broadcasting Union (AUB).
From the Gorée island to the banks of the Nile
Born on November 21, 1965, in Dakar, Senegal, Barrister Augustin Senghor entered the sports milieu very early on, first as a footballer, then as an athlete and basketball player.
Inspired by Hegel’s thought of "Reason in History", he likes to recall that nothing great in this world has been accomplished without passion. "From the small field in the central square of my native island of Gorée where I used to juggle the ball, barefoot, to the presidency of the FSF, I have always served football by giving the best of myself" , he disclosed.
This passion for sport will lead him brilliantly to studies of legal sciences where he will later become a lawyer specializing in sports law, in 1989.
From the beginning of the 90s, he became fully involved in sport at the national level. From 1993 to 2002, he was the president of ASC Coumba Castel in Gorée. From 1996 to 2002, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Union Sportive de Gorée and since 2002 he has been presiding over the club.
From 2008 to 2009, he was a member of the Football Normalization Committee responsible for reform in Senegal; a hard work which was crowned by his election to the Senegalese Football Federation in August 2009. The adventure has been going on for 11 years. And each time, the Electoral College renews its confidence in him.
Internationally, Barrister Augustine Senghor undoubtedly enjoys a positive aura with his peers. To this end, he has held and still holds important positions within organizations in charge of football management. From 2009 to 2013, he was Vice-President of the CAF Disciplinary Jury and Member of the FIFA Appeals Committee.
In 2011, he became President of the West Africa Zone (UFOA A) of CAF, a position he holds to date. From 2013 to 2017, he was a member of the FIFA Associations Committee. Fully invested in this body, he subsequently became FIFA Supervisor of the elections of the Mauritanian football federation in 2011, Nigerian in 2013, Cameroonian in 2015 and Ivorian in 2016.
From May 2017 to November 2019, he was vice- president of the CAF legal commission. In 2018, he was re-elected representative of zone A of the UFOA on the executive committee of the African Football Confederation (CAF), in Casablanca, Morocco, for a four-year term.
Father of four children, Augustin Senghor has been mayor of the municipality of the Gorée island since 2002 and deputy mayor of the city of Dakar.
2- Patrice Motsepe
Football, not gold!
Everyone agrees that Patrice Motsepe is loaded. Yes! The man has money. This is evidenced by the many rankings in which he has been featured for at least ten years. Moreover, in 2012, he was ranked first fortune in South Africa and appeared at the top of the list of the richest personalities drawn up by the South African weekly The Sunday Times, with a personal fortune estimated at 2.4 billion dollars.
But when it comes to football, money alone is not enough. Thomas Kwenaite, an influential columnist in the South African media industry can tell more: “The only way for Motsepe to win this election is to go door-to-door. If he thinks he can give a check to win "this election, he must forget this option".
Mamadou Gaye, an Ivorian expert living in South Africa does not break around the bush: "In Africa, your money will not give you anything, what you need is to build relationships with people", he underlined last November in the Sowetan. But one thing for sure: with money, a candidate in any election can boast of campaigning flawlessly and convincing.
A golden CV
Patrice Motsepe, the founder and chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, became a billionaire in 2008, the first black African on the Forbes list.
In 2016, he launched a new private equity firm, African Rainbow Capital, focused on investing in Africa.
Patrice Motsepe was born on January 28, 1962 in a township of Soweto. Like most township youth of those years, he had to work hard to find his way in life. But his parents were a little better off. His father, a teacher, his mother owned a small network of grocery stores offering the possibility of providing their seven children with a private Catholic educational establishment of better quality than public establishments accessible to black populations.
After studying law, he worked for a while in the United States and then returned to South Africa. He then put his skills to work for the African National Congress (ANC), which was preparing to take power at that time and was working on the government’s mining policy.
In 1994, he became a specialist in mining and commercial law at a time when apartheid officially ended in his country. He first worked in a law firm, and then later became an entrepreneur. He later started his own company called Future Mining which collected gold dust from interior wells. In 1997, he bought low-producing gold mine shafts and later turned them profitable.
He became a mining magnate and a member of several executive committees including Harmony Gold and the South African insurance group Sanlam. In 2013, he joined The Giving Pledge and donated half of his fortune to this charity to promote health and education.
Despite his large fortune in the gold mines industry, Patrice Motsepe entered the football business in the 2000s. In 2004, he bought the football club Mamelodi Sundowns based in Pretoria which is one of the top 10 best on the continent. The club won the CAF Champions League in 2016 and the African Super Cup in 2017 and several other awards. A track record that gives him wings as he since he sees himself on the roof of African football.
His compatriot Danny Jordaan, president of the South African Football Association has been supportive: “We are convinced that his business acumen, his strict respect for governance, legal training, his global commercial network, his commitment and his love for African and world football makes him a revolutionary choice for the leadership of African football”, he said following the announcement of the billionaire's candidacy for the presidency of CAF.
3- Ahmed Yahya
The locomotive of Mauritanian football
Born on January 7, 1976 in Nouadhibou, Mauritania, Ahmed Yahya is undoubtedly the youngest of the candidates to run for the presidency of CAF.
He was elected for the first time at the head of the Mauritanian Football Federation in July 28, 2011. On May 26, 2019, was re-elected for 4years mandate.
For close to 10 years now he has widened his vision of football in Mauritania.
For the first time in the history of African football, his country qualified for the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations – AFCON 2019, hosted by Egypt.
From grass to continental glory
Yahya’s glory has never ceased to prevail in his country. Between 2004 and 2007, he was the Director of Mauritian National. In 2007, he became Secretary General in the Ministry of Sports.
When he took office in 2011, he undertook important innovative works in the field of sports and achieved herculean tasks, thus enabled his country to leave the bottom of the FIFA Ranking to a better position.
He also carried out basic tasks to enable coaches have their salaries within the federation. He enabled the federation have professional players, stadiums, organized the national championship and boosted the functioning of the administration. Consequently, Mauritania made a qualitative leap and found itself in 100th position after having stagnated for a long time in 206th FIFA Ranking.
To achieve this, he needed to organize regular competitions at all levels of football, with the close and efficient collaboration of a strong technical leadership.
Regarding Management, he is seen as a role model according to the authorities of the highest level of football, notably the FIFA President Giani Infantino.
4- Jacques Anouma
The second attempt
He created a ripple effect in the associative and sporting milieu in 2013 when he announced his candidacy against the then legendary CAF president, Cameroonian-born Issa Hayatou.
But Jacques Anouma was stopped in his presidential ambitions as soon as his candidacy was announced. He did not meet the conditions to be a candidate, internal sources at CAF disclosed.
Today, he is more determined than ever before to realize his dream. For 2021, his application ticket has been validated and he is definitely getting ready for the final “battle” to take place on March 12, 2021, in Rabat.
Jacques Anouma was born in 1951 in Alépé, in Ivory Coast. Former president of the Ivorian Football Federation and UFOA, he is also known as the creator of the Four Nations Tournament.
Outside the stadiums, he has been the Administrative and Financial Director of Air France, Côte d'Ivoire. He was also an executive staff at Renault.
From 2000 to 2010, he was Head of the Financial Service at the Presidency of the Republic. Assessor of the Organizing Committee of Competitions at the Ivorian Football Federation, he was Chairman of the Organizing Committee of Competitions at the Ivorian Football Federation from 1991 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, he was President of the League national football.
Since 2006, Jacques Anouma has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). In the meantime, due to internal circumstances in his country, Jacques Anouma was forced to abandon the Ivorian Football Federation.
In 2018, he was appointed special envoy of CAF and FIFA. On Thursday, November 18, 2020, he received the green light from the Ivorian Prime Minister, Hamed Bakayoko on behalf of the President of the Republic, Alassane Ouattara for his candidacy.