S'Busiso Mseleku

The Tokyo Sexwale show hits the road

2015-11-09 09:12
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

The Soweto Derby has claimed its place as the biggest sporting event in South Africa.

The country comes  to a virtual standstill whenever the two Soweto giants, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, lock horns.

Besides the usually 80 000-plus spectators that cram into the calabash that is the FNB Stadium, millions are glued on their television and radio sets to follow the proceedings.

Last Saturday's match did not disappoint with The Buccaneers emerging as 3-1 victors over their traditional rivals.

The result proved once more that form usually counts for nothing in this encounter. Pirates came at their lowest ebb as they had suffered their worst start to a season since the formation of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) in 1996.

The Sea Robbers were placed 13th on the log coming into this match with Amakhosi an impressive fourth, having not lost a single league match.

However, as they say, it is now all history.

But another important sporting development, albeit away from the field, was that businessman and former government minister, struggle hero Tokyo Sexwale is now officially a contender for the position vacated by Sepp Blatter to be the world football head honcho as FIFA president.

He was upbeat last weekend as he reported his trip to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) had gone. He seemed quite pleased with his presentation.

But real work starts in earnest now as he has to travel through the world, starting in New York this week in a bid to convince at least the majority of the 209 FIFA members that he is the right man to fix the broken organisation and that they vote for him on February 26.

Despite his conviction that his presentation went down well with all the African football leaders in Cairo, Sexwale would be naive to think that he will garner all the 54 votes that CAF carry in FIFA.

Not even the entire 14 Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) are likely to vote for him.

You see, Africa is still divided in Anglophone and Francophone territories.

And the fact that there is a Frenchman in Jerome Champagne, will have an impact on how the voting goes. There are also the two Asians - a Prince and a Sheikh - to consider.

Sexwale has appeared as a man who knows his story, having been with FIFA at least since 2007.

However, this would turn out to be his biggest challenge.

Yes, he was part of the SA Bid Committee that narrowly lost to Germany to host the 2006 Soccer World Cup. He was also part of the 2010 successful version as well as the Local Organising Committee for the 2010 World Cup.

The lessons learnt from the loss and the successful lobbying would really come in handy in his current bid.

With Europe looking weak after the stepping down of Blatter and the suspension of yet another Frenchman, Michel Platini, who had emerged as a favourite to replace the Swiss, this might just be a chance for an outsider to become FIFA president.

The organisation has had all but one presidents coming from Europe in its 111 years of existence.

Maybe as the war cry for the 2010 World Cup - Ke Nako! (It's time!) - this could just be yet another right time for a change at the top.

And Sexwale could just as well prove to be the right man to bring about that change.

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:    fifa  |  psl  |  s'busiso mseleku  |  tokyo sexwale  |  soccer


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