Pay players, coaches and get the best – Patrice Motsepe on memorable AFCON

Pay players, coaches and get the best – Patrice Motsepe on memorable AFCON

Judging by many accounts the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire continues to be regarded as one of the best, and CAF president Patrice Motsepe says this is primarily due to improved incentives.

The tournament kicked off with confirmation that the prize money had been increased by a whopping 40 percent from the previous edition in Cameroon.

With the spectacle producing drama, shocks and scintillating football, Motsepe added the main actors – players and coaches – deserved the financial rewards.

"We need to get the spectators to enjoy watching our football. It's gotta be appealing, it's gotta be attractive, it's gotta be exciting because then it has a commercial value and we can use some of that commercial value to pay our players and our technical teams and the coaches and the administrators and the staff and the people. Pay them competitive salaries and competitive wages," Motsepe said.

The AFCON is at the quarterfinals stage this weekend, and the eventual winners who will be crowned on 11 February at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan will pocket a sizeable R130-million.

Motsepe suggested this could also have been a motivating factor to seeing levels raised by minnows, while powerhouses have gone home early.

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"Many of the players don't earn the same money. I have learnt over the last 20 years if you increase the money that goes into the pockets of the players and tell them, we have increased the prize money and with a prize money some of that money is gonna go into the pockets of the players who need it. Some of course are playing at the highest level and for them, it's also the pride and the commitment of having the AFCON CAF in their nations and winning it for their countries," Motsepe added.

Motsepe says he was told by some of the leaders of the participating member associations at the continental showpiece they’d promised their teams a total share of the prize money.

The CAF president also praised the match officials.

"I mean the feedback I'm getting from some of the presidents who said 'We took a huge significant portion of the prize money and told the national team - Guys if you win, this is your money'.

“It has inspired them immensely but also because the quality of our referees, the quality of our match commissioners, the quality of our linesman, the quality of our VAR has been world-class. I had a meeting with all of the referees and I told them, we are very proud of them, all of them."