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
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