D-day for Sexwale

This week will be a big in­di­ca­tion of whether Tokyo is wast­ing his time stand­ing for Fifa’s pres­i­dency, in a race likely to come down to al-Khal­ifa and In­fantino A grave er­ror was made

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

Fifa pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Tokyo Sexwale en­ters a cru­cial week for his am­bi­tions. It will de­ter­mine his fu­ture in the global race a month be­fore the fed­er­a­tion’s elec­tions on Fe­bru­ary 26. On Fri­day, the Con­fed­er­a­tion of African Foot­ball (CAF) lead­er­ship will meet in the Rwan­dan cap­i­tal, Ki­gali, where they will an­nounce who they are back­ing for the race.

A high-rank­ing CAF of­fi­cial told City Press from Ki­gali, where the African Na­tions Cham­pi­onship is be­ing held, that they are likely to en­dorse Sheikh Sal­man Bin Ibrahim al-Khal­ifa, who is the Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion (AFC) pres­i­dent and Fifa vice-pres­i­dent.

Sexwale, who will be in Ki­gali for the an­nounce­ment, has re­mained de­fi­ant about his chances and not taken kindly to crit­i­cism about his lack­lus­tre cam­paign.

He is ex­pected to meet with the Safa emer­gency com­mit­tee be­fore his de­par­ture to Rwanda af­ter the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing raised con­cerns about his cam­paign.

A Safa of­fi­cial hinted that they could dump the busi­ness­man if he did not get CAF’s back­ing.

“Our un­der­stand­ing was that we will only back him if Issa Hay­a­tou was not go­ing to stand, which we did; se­condly, if he got the con­ti­nent’s back­ing, be­cause it would be dif­fi­cult to go against CAF’s de­ci­sion. But we will wait un­til CAF’s de­ci­sion be­fore we say any­thing,” said the Safa of­fi­cial.

Ear­lier this month, CAF and the AFC signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing to­wards the de­vel­op­ment of foot­ball in the two con­fed­er­a­tions, a move many in­ter­preted as Africa giv­ing the sheikh its sup­port.

If that turns out to be the case in Ki­gali, as ex­pected, the pres­i­den­tial race will prob­a­bly turn into a two-horse race be­tween Gianni In­fantino, the Union of Euro­pean Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tions (Uefa) gen­eral sec­re­tary, and the sheikh, who will be the clear-cut favourite.

In­fantino en­joys the over­whelm­ing sup­port of the ma­jor­ity of Uefa’s 53 mem­bers and al-Khal­ifa will get most of his votes from his con­fed­er­a­tion and CAF.

The Cen­tral Amer­i­can Foot­ball Union, which has seven votes in the Fifa pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, has an­nounced its sup­port for In­fantino, but the race is still, by all counts, one for Sheikh Sal­man to lose.

An­other can­di­date, Prince Ali Bin al-Hus­sein, fell into a false sense of se­cu­rity af­ter re­ceiv­ing Uefa’s votes when he chal­lenged Sepp Blat­ter last year, but that is un­likely to hap­pen this time around.

As for Tokyo Sek­wale, he will prob­a­bly look back with great dis­ap­point­ment at a missed op­por­tu­nity, hav­ing won sev­eral sym­pa­thy votes world­wide.

Fri­day will be D-day for him. Tshep­iso Molok­wane via email

Thanks for the ar­ti­cle you wrote in last week­end’s edi­tion about Tokyo’s Fifa bid (“Sexwale’s Fifa cam­paign is head­ing for em­bar­rass­ment”, City Press, Jan­uary 24 2016). I some­how feel vin­di­cated that there are some peo­ple who feel the same way as I do about his pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tion.

My friends hurled lots of insults at me af­ter I sug­gested Tokyo should with­draw from the Fifa polls, as he is go­ing to em­bar­rass the coun­try, and we don’t need such a neg­a­tive in­ter­na­tional spot­light on us.

I’ve said this be­cause his cam­paign man­i­festo is weak and he em­ployed a Euro­cen­tric ap­proach, ne­glect­ing the African con­ti­nent. That made things clear for me to say he’s not ready to oc­cupy Fifa head­quar­ters.

Not hav­ing Issa Hay­a­tou in his cor­ner was a grave mis­take.

As soon as the fi­nal can­di­dates were an­nounced, I tried in vain to get hold of Sexwale’s cam­paign team to get more info about his travel sched­ules, the fo­rums and con­fer­ences he would speak at, his man­i­festo and plans – just gen­eral info about his cam­paign. I failed dis­mally.

I could only reach Do­minic Chimhavi (Safa spokesper­son), who also didn’t have their con­tact de­tails. How ab­surd is that?

Sexwale should have built a cam­paign team around him to as­sist with dis­sem­i­nat­ing his mes­sage to the world that he was the best can­di­date to lead the dam­aged Fifa brand.

I have been fol­low­ing Fifa sto­ries/scan­dals and op­er­a­tions for the past 17 years, and I want to ven­ture into foot­ball writ­ing. I started a blog, nin­jasper­spec­tive.com, to share my opin­ion about foot­ball’s board­room pol­i­tics.

I have writ­ten about how the dif­fer­ent con­fed­er­a­tions are poised to elect and sup­port their own pre­ferred can­di­date.

I bet even Jomo Sono the chair­man is not happy with Jomo Sono the coach

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