South Africa’s Patrice Motsepe has been crowned the new president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) after being elected unopposed on Friday.
The 59-year-old billionaire waltzed into the post after all his rival candidates for the presidency withdrew from the race over the weekend. He becomes the first South African and eighth person to lead the organisation.
His other rival – Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad – was barred from running after his appeal against a ban from football activities failed.
Addressing a gathering of Africa’s member associations at the elections venue in the Moroccan capital Rabat, Motsepe stressed his belief in how unity can herald a new era for African football.
“It’s a huge honour and privilege for me [to be CAF president],” said Motsepe, Africa’s ninth-richest person according to Forbes magazine.
“Let me thank my brother [Fifa president] Gianni [Infantino] for the vision and encouragement of unity. We can only deal with the challenges of Africa and we will succeed, but we will only do so when we are united.”
Motsepe then turned to Africa’s assembled member association presidents and Executive Committee as he looked towards a brighter future.
“The leadership we have in Africa [and] the leadership we have of football in every country gives me confidence and inspires me.
“I am absolutely confident that by working together, we will indeed succeed to make African football not just reach the summit but be amongst the best in the world.”
Motsepe, the owner of 2016 African champions Mamelodi Sundowns, one of South Africa’s most successful teams, has previously spoken of his desire to see an African team win the World Cup.
During the General Assembly, the 52 members present – with Chad and Eritrea the only countries failing to attend – voted to expand the number of CAF vice-presidents from three to five.
Meanwhile, NFF president Amaju Pinnick is on course to be elected to the FIFA Council with results expected shortly.