As he reflected on the continent’s great campaign in Qatar, Confederation of African Football (CAF) head Patrice Motsepe predicted on Wednesday that one African country will make it to the World Cup final in 2026.
South Africa thinks that Morocco’s trailblazing march to the 2022 World Cup semifinals in Qatar has created a foundation for both confidence and ambition going into the subsequent finals. He said,
“I’m confident that in the next World Cup, an African nation will go further,”
“The historic achievements of Morocco have made all of us in Africa uniquely proud. The future of African football is incredibly bright.
“If you look at the talent on the continent, there’s 10-15 nations in Africa now that can compete at the highest level in the world and win.”
It is a big statement given that out of 54 African teams to participate in the competition, only Morocco has ever advanced to the semi-finals, fueled by enormous “home” support given Qatar’s proximity to North Africa.
Motsepe also remembered that the continent had previously won the Olympics—through both Nigeria (1996) and Cameroon—after Africa’s most successful World Cup in history (2000).
Motsepe, who is in Qatar for the finals, stated that he is drawing inspiration from Croatia’s recent World Cup performances. The European country of just under four million people has now advanced to the semifinals in three of its six World Cups.
Speaking in his native South Africa, Motsepe stated, “given a nation of 3.5 million people can compete against Brazil, I’ll never accept that an African nation cannot compete at the highest level,”
“These are proud moments for football in Africa, and the main objective is an African nation to win the World Cup – we have to believe, and encourage every young boy and girl, because it’s not just the men we want to win the World Cup, but also the women.”
“We are absolutely confident that the performance at the World Cup will serve as a significant stimulus and accelerator for the very good work taking place in increasing the quality and global competitiveness of African football.”
Africa’s future depends on investment.
The head of Morocco’s football association, Faouzi Lekjaa, and King Mohamed VI received high appreciation from Motsepe, who said that Africa should take note of how much they invested in the sport in their nation.
However, he freely acknowledged that very few of the other nations on the continent invest anywhere close to the same amount.
“The quality, growth and success of football in any one of the 54 countries is not what it should be,” he stated. “There are a number of countries in Africa, but sadly not many really invest.”
Motsepe emphasized the value of private sector involvement in football, as well as Caf’s ongoing commitment in youth and schools football, as he has done since taking over in March 2021. According to Forbes magazine, Motsepe is Africa’s ninth richest man with a fortune of just under $3 billion.
He remarked, “Johan Cruyff told me to invest in youth football,” before making a suggestion that his time as Caf president might not be long.
“Part of my job is to lay a solid foundation. You don’t judge leaders exclusively by what they do, but by the continuity, success and progress when they’re not there.”
CAF settle score with SportFive’
After unilaterally terminating the largest broadcasting agreement in African football history, Caf finally confirmed that it had resolved its differences with French media group Lagardere (now SportFive).
The choice was made when the African organization was jointly run by Fatma Samoura of Fifa and the Secretary-General was essentially seconded to Caf in an effort to sanitize the game.
The Lagardere deal was canceled during this six-month period, which came to an end when the Caf’s top executives voted against any extension, with the promise of better prospects down the road. However, the coronavirus severely dashed such aspirations months later.
“We can confirm that the dispute between Caf and Lagardere has been amicably resolved to the satisfaction of both parties,” he confirmed.
Legal restrictions, according to Motsepe, bar Caf from disclosing the agreement; earlier this month, Lagardere told the BBC the same thing.
According to BBC Sport Africa, Caf must pay Lagardere a settlement fee of $50 million, which will be split into two instalments of $25 million by the end of 2024.
The settlement cost and the cancellation of Lagardere have both worsened Caf’s financial situation, which Motsepe promised he would solve when he took office in March 2021. On that day, Caf disclosed losses of around a third of its cash reserves over the previous fiscal year.
In a further admission of how the Lagardere deal has affected matters, Motsepe claimed that he was requested to withdraw CHAN by certain top Caf officials since it “loses money.”