Why Amaju Pinnick Is Backing Motsepe For CAF Presidency
By Our Correspondent
Rewind the clock to this time 2017 and you will recall that Nigeria Football Federation NFF, President, Amaju Pinnick was busy, along with the then Confederation of Africa Football CAF presidential candidate, Ahmad Ahmad (who became CAF President after the March 15 General Assembly Election) as they combined swiftly in a political audacity to oust former CAF President, Mr Issa Hayatou from office after 29 years.
While their “collaboration” worked out well as Ahmad Ahmad thereafter emerged CAF President, the beautiful ‘romance’ ended abruptly than it started.
In the build up to the 2021 CAF elections, Pinnick again, has thrown his weight behind another candidate, this time around, South African billionaire, Patrice Motsepe who is the presumed ‘anointed’ candidate to replaced embattled Ahmad.
The Nigeria number on football man have however explained why he aligned with the South Africa for the CAF presidency.
Pinnick has campaigned for Motsepe in the Mamelodi Sundowns owner’s candidacy against Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast‚ Augustin Senghor of Senegal and Mauritanian Ahmed Yahya‚ to be decided in CAF’s elective congress in Rabat‚ Morrocco next week
Pinnick and Cosafa (Council of Southern Africa Football Associations) president Philip Chiyangwa attended Motsepe’s launch of his 10-point plan to heal CAF at Sandton Convention Centre on Thursday.
Both were influential‚ along with SA Football Association (SAFA) and CAF vice-president Danny Jordaan‚ in Madagascan Ahmad Ahmad unseating 29-year incumbent 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 in November.
Chiyangwa‚ a panellist at Motsepe’s launch‚ restated Cosafa’s decision to vote as a block of the 14 Southern African FAs for the South African mining magnate‚ which was confirmed at their annual general meeting (AGM) in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Chiyangwa then called Pinnick to the podium‚ asking him to state the “numbers we are looking at” regarding votes expected for Motsepe’s candidacy.
“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 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’.
“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.”