By Andrew Warshaw
November 16 – The race to become the most powerful figure in African football is now a five-man contest after Senegal Football Federation president Augustin Senghor just beat last Thursday’s deadline to submit his candidacy.
Senghor joins the present incumbent Ahmad (Madagascar), Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast), Patrice Motsepe (South Africa) and Ahmed Yahya (Mauritania) in the battle for the presidency of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Senghor is the mayor of Goree, an island off the coast of the Senegalese capital Dakar, and president of top-flight club side US Goree. He has been a member of CAF’s Executive Committee since 2019.
“I am now waiting for CAF to publish the list of candidates,” said Senghor, a lawyer by training who has been president of his federation since 2009.
With four of the five candidates coming from French-speaking countries, the francophone vote runs the risk of being split – unless some of them pull out before election day next March or Ahmad is found guilty in the meantime of multiple allegations of corruption and sexual harassment by the FIFA Ethics committee.
In any event, Motsepe’s chances of becoming the first English mother tongue leader of CAF could be enhanced by the number of French-speaking rivals despite the fact the billionaire South African businessman has no official affiliation to his national federation.
Lobbying is expected to be fierce in the coming months, Covid restrictions permitting, as the candidates stake their claim to clean up football on the African continent which has become toxic under the regime of Ahmad.
All contenders will be keen to woo FIFA president Gianni Infantino who last year parachuted his number two, secretary-general Fatma Samoura, into Africa to take the lead for six months following a number of controversies at the heart of the Continent’s football leadership.
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