New Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Patrice Motsepe raised the bar Tuesday for national teams in the continent by insisting one of them must win the World Cup soon.
“An African team must win the World Cup in the near future,” said the 59-year-old South African billionaire at a press conference in Johannesburg.
Motsepe was elected unopposed last Friday to lead trouble-torn CAF after a two-year ban over “governance issues” prevented Malagasy Ahmad Ahmad seeking re-election for a second stint.
The mining magnate promised to quit after his four-year term if CAF “does not make real progress” under his leadership.
“We must stop being excessively pessimistic and negative (about the World Cup), there is no continent that has succeeded by dwelling on its failures.”
No African team has gone beyond the quarter-finals of the World Cup, and only Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) have got that far.
Africa fared dismally at the last World Cup in Russia three years ago, with its five qualifiers — Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia — eliminated after the group stage.
But Motsepe was upbeat as he spoke in South Africa for the first time since his ascension to the highest position in African football.
“I am confident African football will succeed, become self sufficient, and the best in the world,” predicted the owner of 2016 CAF Champions League winners Mamelodi Sundowns.
Turning to the Africa Cup of Nations, Motsepe said he wanted it to continue as a two-yearly tournament despite suggestions from FIFA president Gianni Infantino that it be staged every four years.