The initial euphoria in South Africa
over Tokyo Sexwale's confirmation earlier in the week that he was standing as a
candidate to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter as president of FIFA has
speedily been punctured with the effect of a sophisticated, but back-to-earth
Sexwale wasted no time in departing for the CAF
congress in Cairo to seek the African continent's overall support for his bid
after SAFA had earlier agreed to throw their weight behind the former Gauteng
premier, anti-apartheid freedom-fighter and reputed billionaire business mogul.
But CAF have taken a stonewalling approach on the issue and
revealed yesterday they will study the claims of all the FIFA presidential
aspirants who have approached them, among them Asian president Sheikh Salman
bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, Prince Ali bin al-Hassan of Jordan and UEFA
secretary-general Gianni Infantino, before coming up with a final decision.
At the same time, highly critical revelations and comments
on Sexwale's FIFA bid in a leading Johannesburg-based weekly newspaper have
placed a more sobering aspect on his candidacy.
Under the heading "Why Tokyo Sexwale is wrong for
FIFA" the paper writes that "Sexwale's past is littered with
controversies involving secretive deals and problematic partners.'"
And it follows up with a strongly-worded editorial under the
heading "FIFA must say 'no' to cagey Tokyo."
Also under scrutiny is Sheikh Salman for reportedly
assisting the Bahrain government in putting down the protests of anti-race
activists - something the Asia president has hotly disputed.
The initial favourite to replace Blatter as president, UEFA
president and former French footballing icon, Michel Platini, remains among the
candidates despite a 90-day suspension while investigations continue over a
dubious payment of more than R20 million made to him by FIFA.
And in the wake of the embarrassments that continue to haunt
FIFA, the "Mr Clean" image of Prince Ali bin al-Hassan, who showed
courage and integrity in opposing Blatter in the last elections before the
sitting president had been exposed, stands out like a shining beacon.