Cape Town - The Confederation of African Football has reiterated its support of Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa for the FIFA presidency despite claims by his major rival that he could take more than half Africa's votes in Friday's election.
Gianni Infantino, who is expected to provide the major challenge to Sheikh Salman's bid to replace Sepp Blatter, said on Monday that he would get more than half Africa's votes in the poll even though CAF has endorsed his rival.
"The position of CAF was expressed on the 5th of February in Kigali and CAF won't comment further on candidates hopes and expectations," CAF said on Tuesday
CAF decided at an executive committee meeting in the Rwandan capital this month to endorse Salman's candidacy, just weeks after it had signed a co-operation agreement with the Asian Football Confederation, of which Salman is president.
The decision, however, is not binding on CAF's 54 member countries, who have usually not followed their ruling body's suggestions in previous elections.
"I think I'll make an impact in Africa. I think I will get more half the African votes. CAF did not endorse me but I am confident I had enough individual interactions with leaders to gain their confidence," UEFA general secretary Infantino said on Monday during a visit to South Africa.
Infantino has made several trips over the last four months to countries on the continent canvassing for votes but received only one formal endorsement statement - from South Sudan - which promptly issued a repudiation via the CAF website.
"All (those) hoping to break up the sacred union and solidarity that have always been in the African football family are bound to failure," CAF vice president Suketu Patel said.