The billionaire puppet

New Caf president Patrice Motsepe already has a nickname, “the new puppet of Zürich”. The Caf election demonstrated that African football is no longer in the hands of Caf, but controlled by Gianni Infantino himself.

By Pål Ødegård and Philippe Auclair

Everything went as scripted at Caf’s general assembly in Rabat, Morocco on Friday 12 March. Fifa president Gianni Infantino witnessed his favourite, Patrice Motsepe, become the new Caf president by acclamation, while his closest supporters all obtained vital positions in the Caf Executive Committee and the Fifa council. And as Caf effectively became a sub-division of Fifa in the process after the announcement of Infantino’s close friend and enforcer Veron Mosengo-Omba as its new secretary general, no objections were dared uttered by the electorate.


With everything seemingly in place for Infantino’s plan to be rolled out, most officials went directly to the assembly in Rabat from the successfully arranged Caf U20 Afcon in Nouakchott, Mauritania. Some of them had taken part in a kickabout with the Fifa president, who wore the captain’s armband on the occasion. Such a privilege was not to befall the various U17 national teams on their way to the U17 Afcon about to start on 13 March in Morocco. Despite relatively low Covid-19 infection rates (122 new detected cases among a population estimated at 37 million on 9 March), Moroccan health authorities banned travel into the kingdom from more and more departure countries as days went by. And on 8 March, Caf announced that the tournament would be cancelled, citing the pandemic as the main cause. The squads of Uganda, Zambia, Senegal and Ivory Coast...

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