The Confederation of African Football’s endorsement of Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa as FIFA president, has been received with mixed reactions.
Al-Khalifa was given preference over four other candidates to succeed Joseph Blatter.
The decision is a blow to the hopes of the South African candidate, Tokyo Sexwale, who was hoping to get the support of his own continent.
“There are 54 associations in this continent, many of which will make their own choices. I’m a democrat, we all should be and those associations have got every reason to make their vote because associations are not sent to Kigali or to Johannesburg or to Moscow or to Cairo. Associations are sent to FIFA,” Sexwale said.
Sexwale said his final position on this issue will be made known in Zurich.
“We will be going to Zurich as candidates. And I will go there as one candidate sent by my own association as well as the others. And I will be there on the 26th. My final position, my fundamental position will be made clear in Zurich because that’s where I’ve been sent. And therefore I want to say that although I congratulate the process of what happened here. It is not FIFA’s final process. Sheikh Salman should be congratulated for being that nominee. But the five of us on the final list of FIFA and I hope we will all be there on the 26th,” he added.
Africa is the biggest voting bloc with 54 of the total 209 votes, and has emerged as a key battle ground for FIFA candidates.
UEFA Secretary General, Gianni Infantino said he would respect CAF’s decision.
“I have personally seen all the federations. I spoke to them, and I have tried to convince them of my ideas and programmes. I get very important public support everywhere in the world. I am very confident in Africa because when I visit and they tell me they will support me, I believe them,” Infantino said.
Sheikh Salman’s Fifa presidential hopes boosted by Caf endorsement https://t.co/utiM9JYQi1— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) February 5, 2016
FIFA votes in a secret ballot on February 26, 2016.