We are only three months away from the much-anticipated election to choose the next Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) president.
The poll comes hard on the heels of the humiliation and suspension of the organisation’s long-serving president, Sepp Blatter. The Swiss was elected head of the wolrd soccer-body in 1998, but was slapped with suspension last month amid accusations of corruption. He denies the charges, but still, cannot stand for the presidency on 26 February 2016.
Five candidates have since been confirmed for the election, namely Asian Football Confederation president Sheik Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, former FIFA official Jérôme Champagne of France, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) general secretary Gianni Infantino of Switzerland, and South African politician Tokyo Sexwale.
I will not be focusing on Blatter’s corruption charges which forced him to announce his resignation from FIFA in May this year only days after re-election for a four-year, fifth term.
My concern today is about the candidates who will be running for this very powerful, if not lucrative, position.
When it is time for elections whether in sport, politics or the workplace, there will always be diverse views, and football is no exception.
But for next February’s poll, I would love to see Sexwale emerging victorious because here is a man who knows the challenges faced by his fellow Africans.
Whatever programmes he is going to come up with would be in line with the continent’s aspirations of being at par with Europe and the Americas.
I would want to believe all African football associations would be backing Sexwale for the post because in addition to being a fellow African, he has proved himself in various managerial positions, including at ministerial level.
History was made in 2010 when South Africa became the first African country to host the football World Cup, which clearly proved this continent has the capacity and people to direct such crucial events.
European football leagues are the most successful in the world largely because of their stable economies, which we don’t have as African countries.
Although the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) has not yet declared their preferred candidate, I would urge them to go for Sexwale for the reasons I have mentioned above.
I think it is about time FIFA had an African president who is going to put his continent’s interests first—the same way the Americans and Europeans have been looking out for their own over the years.
African football has failed to reach the heights predicted by so many analysts throughout the years for the simple reason that we don’t have as much resources for the game, as our overseas counterparts.
The upcoming FIFA elective conference has the potential to change this state of affairs but only if Africans band together and vote for Tokyo.
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