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Patrice Motsepe’s status as Caf president all but secured

THE NEXT CAF PRESIDENT?—Motsepe

Patrice Motsepe’s status as the next Confederation of African Football (Caf) president is all but secured after his last eligible rival for the role —Mauritania’s Ahmed Yahya— pulled out of the race on Saturday afternoon, the third candidate to do so since Friday evening.

South African billionaire Motsepe is now the only candidate left, although the possibility remains that this could change on Monday (today) if current Caf president Ahmad overturns his five-year Fifa ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

An entire exoneration of the Malagasy’s sanction is considered unlikely, meaning that Motsepe—who owns South Africa’s 2016 African champions Mamelodi Sundowns—looks all set to be crowned president when Caf’s elections take place next Friday.

Motsepe is Africa’s ninth richest man, according to Forbes magazine, which estimates his wealth at $2.9 billion.

Less than 36 hours ago, all four candidates were still in the race but talks in Morocco last weekend, when a deal was mooted whereby Motsepe would become president with his rivals stepping aside, have now come to fruition.

In his withdrawal statement on Friday night, Senegalese FA president Augustin Senghor said the candidates had ‘decided to accept the proposal submitted to us by Fifa, Morocco and Egypt [FA’s] in the superior interest of the unity of African football’.

These talks then required each of Motsepe’s rival candidates to consult with their governments prior to pulling out, with Ivorian Jacques Anouma, Senghor and Yahya all duly mentioning their respective heads of state in their withdrawal statements.

Senghor and Yahya are expected to assume vice-presidential roles, with Anouma —who, like Senghor, pulled out late on Friday—set for a ‘Special Advisor’ role.

“I would like to announce the decision I have taken, in agreement with my fellow candidates for the Caf presidency after frank and fruitful discussions where we took the decision to unify the list of candidates for the Caf presidency, and this by personally withdrawing my candidacy and that of my brothers and colleagues Augustin Senghor and Jacques Anouma,” Yahya stated.

“Now, alongside Patrice, Augustin and Jacques Anouma, it is my turn to give back to African soccer what it has given me. This historic alliance is, in my opinion, the greatest honour for the future of Caf and African football.” —BBC

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