South Sudan set reap from $54m CAF fund

South Sudan set reap from $54m CAF fund
CAF president Patrice Motsepe exchanging pleasantries with President Salva Kiir. [Photo: SSFA]

South Sudan will be among the recipients of a $54 million grant that the continental football body plans to advance to its member associations.

This was revealed by the president of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Patrice Motsepe yesterday.

Motsepe, a South African mogul with business interests in mining and gas, took office last year.

Motsepe replaced Malagasy politician Ahmed Ahmed who is still facing an accusation of abuse of office, mismanaging funds and trading in gifts.

Immediately he took over operations of the Cairo-based office, Motsepe, who also owns one of Africa’s best clubs – Mamelodi Sundowns, had promised to transform how African football is managed in all the 54 member associations.

The seventh president of CAF made a brief stop in Juba, yesterday, on his way to Kampala, Uganda. He has been on a ‘long trek’ in Africa as he launches the Pan African Inter-Schools competitions on the continent.

The idea of Inter School Champions was birthed last to give school-going children a chance to nurture their talents while pursuing education. Motsepe believes that footballers and by extension sports persons can also excel in academics and “make significant contributions in the overall growth of African ‘GDP’”.

“We (CAF) have just announced that we will be launching a very important competition – African Super League.

“We are busy now and part of that plan is to give South Sudan a million dollars (USD) as part of the negotiations that we have,” he told journalists in Juba.

The African Super League will be launched in Tanzania on a date yet to be communicated.

“A million dollars for every country in Africa will help with infrastructure,” added Motsepe, who flew to Juba from Ethiopia.

But while he shuttles the continent in hopes of a fat cheque to come, Motsepe said he is pained by the ‘brain-drain’ of African players moving abroad to pursue professional contracts.

“One of the problems I have is that too many (players) from African nations play their football outside their country. That is unacceptable!” said Motsepe when he addressed the press at Juba International Airport.

To deal with this, the South African said that his administration will sort out the poor infrastructure that has stagnated African football for ages.

“That’s unacceptable. We have to work together (and) we (CAF) have to take the lead. If any country in Africa does not have a stadium that fulfils the requirements of CAF and FIFA, it’s not only a failure in that country. It is our failure. We have to work together because we need our people to come to the stadium,’ he noted.

Most African nations, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, are still struggling with football infrastructure development.

South Sudan, for example, currently play their home games in neighbouring countries due to the unavailability of the only standard stadium in the country – Juba National Stadium.

Motsepe paid homage to the facility currently under renovation in his six-hour visit to South Africa. He later met with President Salva Kiir with whom he discussed a wide range of matters touching on football development and investment in football infrastructure in South Sudan.

“We are also here to encourage partnerships. There are very many companies that do very well. Whenever I go to different countries, I do encourage people to partner with football. When you sponsor football in South Sudan, you are part of the dream and aspirations of the people of South Sudan.

The plane he flew – a concord, touched down at 8.30 and departed at exactly 2.30 Thursday.

At the same time, Motsepe reiterated the significant contribution sports play in uniting the country even as he appealed to South Sudanese to rally behind their national teams.

“Keep watching South Sudan football. I can assure you will be proud and we will work together to see South Sudan become one of the best football nations in Africa.

“We also use football today to encourage our young people to study even science and engineering courses and let it (football economy) become part of the world’s economy. The world today is about technology.”

He further appealed to local companies to take advantage of the mass following of football and invest in sports in South Sudan.