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FIFA Elections: Does Tokyo Sexwale's battle plan guarantee survival?

FIFA Elections: Does Tokyo Sexwale's battle plan guarantee survival?

South Africa

In late October 2015, Tokyo Sexwale, a South African businessman and a former political prisoner declared his bid for FIFA presidency. He had confirmed his candidacy two days before the deadline for registrations, and the South African Football Association (Safa) President, Dr Danny Jordaan said they were fully backing Sexwale’s bid.

However, the Confederation of African Football CAF appeared to bring to an end 62-year-old Sexwale’s hopes of becoming the first African to hold the office, after it declared Africa’s 54 federations would back Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman in the 26 February elections.

He will be slogging it out with four other candidates for the Friday polls. While most consider him an outside contender, his manifesto talks a good game.


In his manifesto among the issues he will be addressing is the fight against racism, noting that FIFA have been called ‘soft’ in this regards in recent years. Also considering he has been FIFA’s anti-racism advisor, it looks like a gray area he could easily help clear.

Sexwale also suggests he will look to address the imbalances of the confederations and their allocated spots at World Cup – something which he was sure would land him votes from the CAF region.

He also promises more transparency, especially with regards to the sponsors, and to be a ‘hand-on president with a personal touch’, according to KickOff.com

Life Before Football

But what has Sexwale been doing before he jumped into football?

According to TokyoSexwale.com, he was a member of the Black Consciousness Movement in the late 1960s before he joined the ANC in the 1970s.

The site further reports that Sexwale also served a total of 13 years on Robben Island for his political activities before being released in 1990, at the same time as Nelson Mandela.

After the 1994 election, he was the first Premier of Gauteng province, later served as Minister of Human Settlements and is currently an Honorary Colonel in the South African Air Force.

He is also the founder of Global Watch: Say No To Racism-Discrimination in All Sport. He holds honorary doctorates from universities in the United Kingdom and United States of America, and has authored numerous political and economic articles as well as poetry.

And now, Tokyo Sexwale is faced with a challenge: to be president of FIFA.

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