Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) boss Philip Chiyangwa, who is the campaign manager for Patrice Motsepe, has promised to deliver victory to the Sundowns owner in the Confederation of African Football (Caf) presidency vote that takes place on March 12.
Chiyangwa, who was campaign manager for Ahmad Ahmad, who successfully ran for the same office the last time, said he was targeting at least 35 votes out of the 54 Caf members for Motsepe.
The former Zifa president has once again joined forces with Nigeria’s FA president Amaju Pinnick to campaign for Motsepe.
Motsepe will compete for the top post against Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast‚ Augustin Senghor of Senegal and Mauritanian Ahmed Yahya‚ to be decided at Caf’s elective congress in Rabat‚ Morocco on March 12.
Motsepe launched his manifesto at Sandton Convention Centre in South Africa on Thursday.
“When I am working with this man (Motsepe) we get what we aspire for. Last time we aspired for 35 votes for Ahmad and we got that,” Chiyangwa told the gathering.
“If you do a comparative analysis, put Patrice and put the other candidates there. This is in respect of what all of them have achieved in their personal lives. There is no comparison with Patrice. I wish to state that we are fighting to get at least 35 votes and this time it’s an aggressive fight. Motsepe is a winner and he has endeavoured in many directions. I want to promise you (Motsepe) that we will do everything to make sure that you are victorious. You are a breath of fresh air and Africa is delighted.”
Chiyangwa promised Motsepe that the 14-member Cosafa regional bloc will back him.
Both Chiyangwa and Pinnick were influential‚ along with South African Football Association (Safa) and Caf vice-president Danny Jordaan‚ in Ahmad’s unseating of Issa Hayatou in the Caf elections of March 2017 in Addis Ababa‚ Ethiopia.
Ahmad was banned from football for five years by Fifa for ethics violations.
Pinnick expressed confidence that Motsepe would romp to victory.
“The truth is you can see me in South Africa very regularly. I’m super-excited because for the first time in football in the continent‚ Africa is about to get it right‚” Pinnick said.
“I’m happy because two faces I’m seeing here today‚ either of them would have been the perfect fit for the president of Caf — my brother Moise Katumbi [owner of TP Mazembe in Democratic Republic of the Congo] and Patrice Motsepe.
“. . . And that’s the excitement of everybody in Nigeria‚ and it’s the same excitement of everybody on the West African coast.
“So when you say you [Cosafa] are giving 14 votes — and I said this during Ahmad’s campaign where he got 35 votes — that by God’s grace we are looking at 40 votes [for Motsepe].
“I travel every day campaigning for my president [Motsepe]‚ and they say‚ ‘But you are not campaigning for yourself’. I say‚ ‘Let him get in there.’ With plenty of support, Motsepe is the favourite for Caf’s top job
“So I can assure you‚ between 35‚ 38 and 40 [votes].”
The Nigerian FA’s declaration suggested that West Africa was behind Motsepe’s bid. Chiyangwa declared confidence in Pinnick’s estimate.
“When I’m working with him the number he gives is what we aspire to achieve‚” the Cosafa boss said.
“The last time we had Ahmad we had 35 — for sure that was what we predicted in Harare.”
It was at Chiyangwa’s 58th birthday party in Harare on February 24 2017‚ attended by 24 African FA heads that the plot to unseat Hayatou was finalised.
Chiyangwa was Ahmad’s chief campaign manager. Among the FA presidents present were Pinnick‚ Jordaan and Liberian FA president Musa Bility. The next month Jordaan‚ Pinnick and Bility were voted onto Caf’s powerful executive as Ahmad beat Hayatou.
The party in Harare was controversially attended by Fifa president Gianni Infantino‚ which was seen at the time as backing the Ahmad camp.
Infantino‚ visiting Mauritania‚ Senegal‚ the Central African Republic‚ Rwanda and South Africa on a tour of Africa‚ has met with Caf presidential candidates Yahya‚ Senghor and Motsepe. Fifa’s president spoke at Cosafa’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg on Monday.
Motsepe’s campaign has moved to distance itself from speculation that the Sundowns boss is Fifa’s preferred candidate. – Kevin Mapasure/TimesLiv
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