I have been following events of the FIFA presidency keenly with many thinking this is going to be the most unpredictable race in the organisation’s history. We might even have been in for a surprise, let me bust your bubble, it won’t happen.
African has decided to rally behind Sheikh Salman, the President of the Asian football federation and a member of the Bahrain royal family in the upcoming elections.
Well, what’s not surprising is Africa as a continent failing to rally behind it’s own Tokyo Sexwhale. Sexwhale is the only African candidate in the race and for a continent that is usually denied entrance to the major international organisations decision making positions, the football federation was our chance to force ourselves to sit at that table, not since the 1950’s independent wave have we had a better chance to be counted as equals, but do the people at the helm of CAF believe we are equal?
All cards played into our favour, FIFA is at it’s most vulnerable stage, the body is badly in need of someone to re-ignite sponsors confidence, it needs someone who can re-sale the moral and integrity card of the world’s most loved sport but yet again we let this slip.
I’ve been engaging a number of friends in the media circles from all over the world about the importance of Africa in this vote and although we disagreed on many patent issues, there was agreement on one, Africa needs to realise it’s voting power.
Africa as a bloc counts for 54 votes in the upcoming elections, a reason to why all current FIFA presidential candidates are camped in Kigali at the ongoing African Nations Championship, they know the power of this vote, but sadly majority of our president’s do not or in the very least act like they don’t.
When controversial CAF president Issa Hayatou stood against Sepp Blatter in the 2002 elections, the Swiss won the African vote, the message from our continent was clear; on one hand we believe he is good enough to run African football, on the other hand he is not good enough to run World football( second class citizens mentality if you ask me).How ironic that they could let a President they believe is not good enough to stay at the helm of the institution!! your guess is as good as mine.
Enter Tokyo Sexwhale, few had heard of his name before he announced his candidature, his credentials have been questioned and yes he might not have offered much but at least he noticed that this might have been our best chance to bring the leadership of sports most powerful body to Africa.
Surely we should not have expected Sexwhale to win the on the first ballot but we should admire his braveness. Even after the declaration from the CAF executive committee to endorse the President of the Asian federation as it’s preffered candidate, the South African has vowed to stay in the race hoping to sway a few votes from the continent. Admire the man’s attitude.
It’s such bravery that our old heads at the helm of football leadership on the continent have lacked so many a time, but then what did we expect from people comfortable in a current status quo that benefits individuals rather than the continent.
We did not cease our moment and once again, yes I will blatantly state, once again African leaders let us down.