Sheikh Salman faces twin challenge in his bid for AFC presidency
>> KUALA LUMPUR: Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa faces a challenge as the head of the continent’s ruling football body with two candidates putting themselves forward for next April’s election.
AFC vice-president Saoud A Aziz M A Al-Mohannadi of Qatar and Executive Committee member Mohamed Khalfan Matar Saeed Alromaithi from the United Arab Emirates had lodged their candidacies to challenge Sheikh Salman, the AFC said yesterday.
An expected challenge from Saudi Arabia Football Federation’s former president Adel Ezzat did not materialise. Ezzat had said in 2017 he would stand against Sheikh Salman in the 2019 elections.
Ezzat’s hopes of a building a power base were apparently hurt in October by the decision of members of the South Asian Football Federation to withdraw from the Saudi-created South West Asian Football Federation.
Sheikh Salman said in October he would be seeking a third term in office. He was first elected AFC president in 2013 to complete the term of disgraced former president Mohammed bin Hammam.
Bin Hammam was banned for life by Fifa, the game’s governing body, in 2011 and the AFC was led by interim president Zhang Jilong until Sheikh Salman’s successful election.
The Bahraini was re-elected to his post in 2015.
The AFC President also holds a Vice-President post at world governing body Fifa.
Meanwhile, South Korea forward Kim Seung-Dae will miss the Asian Cup next month because of a toe injury and has been replaced in the pre-tournament training camp by uncapped winger Kim In-Sung.
Kim Seung-Dae has played five times for his country scoring one goal and his absence through injury is somewhat ironic given he played every minute of every game for his club Pohang Steelers in the recentlyconcluded season.
Speedster Kim In-Sung, who has never represented his country at any level, had a brief spell in the Russian Premier League with CSKA Moscow in 2011.
AFC president Sheikh Salman.