S'Busiso Mseleku

Long, arduous road ahead for Sexwale

2015-10-27 12:19
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

It came as no surprise when the South African Football Association (SAFA) endorsed Tokyo Sexwale's candidature for the FIFA presidency.

This move ended speculation that had been going on for months whether he was in the race or not.

But his endorsement and entering his candidature before closure were just first baby steps.

Even his travel to Cairo to present his plan and views to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) at their executive committee meeting, where speculation is that he will be endorsed on Saturday, is still just a drop in the ocean.

Real work will start going forward where he has to convince the world that he is really the man not only to take over the top job of leading FIFA but to turn the organisation around.

Sexwale is not the only one with desires on the plum job.

There are other contenders among who there is a Prince and a Sheikh.

While Uefa president Michel Platini had appeared as a favourite when Sepp Blatter announced he will be stepping down, he is currently suspended and can't join the race, as yet.

Many would have thought the absence of Europe, the biggest block within FIFA, would open doors for an "outsider" as the organisation has only had one president from outside Europe in Brazilian Joao Havelange, since its formation more than 100 years ago.

But Uefa threw in their own candidate in Secretary General Gianni Infantino in the eleventh hour.

So this means Sexwale (62), will fight it out with Infantino (45),  Prince Ali bin Hussein (39) of Jordan,  Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa (49) of Bahrain, Trinidad and Tobago's David Nakhid (51) and former FIFA strongman  Jérôme Champagne (57) of France.

These candidates who had entered the race before Monday's deadline, are powerful, all worth their salt and have good credentials.

Sexwale, a struggle hero who has made inroads at FIFA serving in a number of committees and by his crusade against racism in sport, is quite a formidable candidate.

He also played a crucial role in South Africa's bid and the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup as a member of the Bid and later  the Organising Committee.

He has also received the backing of German football legend Franz Beckenbauer who has also promised support of the German Football Association.

But this does not mean he will get the top job handed to him on a platter.

For him to win the election on February 26, he will have to convince most of the 209 member associations of FIFA that he is the right man.

He will need to criss-cross the globe and make several presentations.

Talk that it's high time Europe gave up its stranglehold on world football and gave other regions an opportunity to show what they can do, could end up being just that, cheap talk.

Sexwale has promised to carry his mandate with dignity and humility. He must make sure that some parts of the world that he needs to lobby, do not misinterpret his humility for timidity.

It is a long way to February 26 but just as Minister Mbalula told him to 'do it for Africa', Sexwale must know that if he becomes FIFA president, he will have to do it for the world.

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    safa  |  fifa  |  s'busiso mseleku  |  soccer

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