Johannesburg - Africa's FIFA presidential
contender Tokyo Sexwale risks losing the continent's backing and may be asked
to pull out of the race, South African newspaper reports said on Sunday.
Two local Sunday papers
made the speculation ahead of the Friday meeting of the leadership of the
53-member Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Kigali due to decide which
candidate to support.
Sexwale and his office were
not immediately available for comment.
But an unnamed executive
committee member of the South African Football Association (SAFA) was quoted by
the local Sunday Times weekly saying that "we have been told that he is
not taking the African continent seriously".
"And just about
everybody on the continent says he must withdraw from the presidential
race," said the official.
The City Press, another
South African Sunday paper, also cited an unnamed SAFA official saying the
business tycoon may be dropped if he did not get CAF's backing on February 5.
But in a statement on
Sunday the SAFA boss rejected suggestions that the football body was unhappy
Dennis Mumble, SAFA's
president said a meeting the association called with Sexwale last week was
"merely to receive an update on the next steps of his campaign ... and not
to convey a decision ... on the viability or otherwise of Mr Sexwale's
candidacy, as some media reports indicate".
There has, however, been
criticism regarding the campaign of Sexwale, the only African candidate bidding
for the job.
The bosses of the football associations
of Namibia and Zimbabwe also voiced concern at Sexwale's campaign tactics.
"We are in the dark
and we do not know as neighbours what his strategies are. Maybe they do not
need our vote," Namibia's Football Association president Frans Mbidi told
the Sunday Times.
Association's president Phillip Chiyangwa was also quoted by the Sunday Times
saying: "South Africa and their candidate are not doing good enough to
enlist our support".
Last week Sexwale said the
next FIFA leader must come from Africa or Asia and that he was ready to form an
alliance to stop a European candidate.
"I am focused on
making sure that the president of FIFA comes from either Africa or Asia, not
Europe," Sexwale told South Africa's Metro radio on Thursday.
Sexwale, an anti-apartheid
prisoner with Nelson Mandela who became a businessman and politician, also
raised the possibility of some candidates joining forces.
"The time for
alliances is... coming, and it's healthy, it's democratic and it's good,"
he said. "Now we are talking... we are brothers, we are colleagues."
He did not name his allies,
but the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) this month signed a cooperation
accord with the CAF.
Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim
al-Khalifa, head of the AFC and a member of the Bahrain royal family, is
considered one of the frontrunners in the race to replace the suspended Sepp
Apart from Sexwale, he is
up against Jerome Champagne, a French former FIFA official, UEFA's
Swiss-Italian general secretary Gianni Infantino and Prince Ali bin al Hussein