Africa’s time has come

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

Fifa has been mak­ing head­lines for the wrong rea­sons fol­low­ing the re­elec­tion of Sepp Blat­ter as the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s pres­i­dent in May this year.

Blat­ter has since been slapped with an eight-year sus­pen­sion for al­leged mis­man­age­ment and abuse of funds which he con­tin­ues to deny.

the Swiss has also said he would be chal­leng­ing his lengthy ban from the beau­ti­ful game as he main­tains his in­no­cence. Blat­ter was ap­pointed Fifa gen­eral sec­re­tary in 1981 and elected pres­i­dent on 8 June 1998, suc­ceed­ing João Have­lange of Brazil, who had been head since 1974.

Blat­ter was re-elected in 2002, 2007, 2011, and 2015 but the lat­ter nom­i­na­tion had to be nul­li­fied af­ter re­ports sur­faced that he was the sub­ject of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the way he was us­ing, or rather abus­ing, Fifa funds.

as a foot­ball fan, it has surely been hard to al­ways see my beloved sport mak­ing such un­for­tu­nate head­lines be­cause in ad­di­tion to Blat­ter, not less than 20 other Fifa of­fi­cials have been pun­ished for their part in tar­nish­ing the im­age of the game through cor­rup­tion un­par­al­leled in the his­tory of the sport.

and as if this was not enough, Fifa pres­i­den­tial can­di­date tokyo Sexwale was ques­tioned by a United States of amer­ica grand jury on 17 de­cem­ber 2015 re­gard­ing an al­leged il­le­gal pay­ment of $10 mil­lion from South africa to ex-fifa vice-pres­i­dent Jack Warner.

Sexwale, as re­ported by the BBC, ap­peared as a wit­ness at the Fbi’s re­quest as part of an on­go­ing probe into World Cup bribes.

South africa de­nies any wrong­do­ing, but the US Jus­tice depart­ment sug­gests the money was sent by South africa, through Fifa, to Warner in three wire trans­fers in 2008 as pay­back for him and two other thenFifa ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers for back­ing South africa in the 2004 vote. South africa won the right to host the 2010 World Cup by four votes over Morocco, mak­ing the bal­lots of Warner and his two “co-con­spir­a­tors” de­ci­sive, the charges against Warner read.

the 62-year-old Sexwale for­merly served on the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee bid­ding to host the 2010 show­case but all in­di­ca­tions are he would not be stopped from run­ning for the Fifa pres­i­dency come Fe­bru­ary.

Sexwale is com­pet­ing with Jerome Cham­pagne, Sheikh Sal­man bin ebrahim alKhal­ifa, Gianni in­fantino, and Hus­sein for Fifa’s top post, and one hopes he does not get tan­gled in this cor­rup­tion web and is not dis­qual­i­fied for run­ning in the poll come 26 Fe­bru­ary 2016.

For 111 years, Fifa has not had an african pres­i­dent, and i am hop­ing Sexwale could be the man to even­tu­ally break this over­seas dom­i­nance.

i be­lieve this is one of the rea­sons why african foot­ball has failed to flour­ish be­cause the peo­ple lead­ing Fifa do not put the nec­es­sary en­ergy into up­lift­ing the con­ti­nen­tal game as they do in other parts of the world.

if Sexwale is backed by the whole african con­ti­nent, that could put him in a very strong po­si­tion be­cause africa is Fifa’s largest af­fil­i­ate with 54 as­so­ci­a­tions

al­though the Le­sotho Foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion (Lefa) is still mum on who they will be sup­port­ing come Fe­bru­ary, Sexwale has de­clared that the King­dom is among the coun­tries ral­ly­ing be­hind him in his bid to make his­tory.

i hope this is true of Lefa be­cause hav­ing a Fifa pres­i­dent just next door would do our game a world of good, but not in a cor­rupt man­ner, of-course.

Like i said, i hope Sexwale is not tainted by any of th­ese scan­dals rock­ing Fifa and stands in the elec­tion for a change of lead­er­ship of the game which some of us love so dearly.

Happy new Year!

Tokyo Sexwale

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