If feelers are anything to go by and if the ‘power of incumbency’ institutionalized and revered in Africa could play out on the global scene, an African may soon become the president of world football, replacing Mr. Sepp Joseph Blatter in February 2016.
Mr. Michel Platini had been the front runner in the race since Blatter announced in June that he would stand down. It was widely speculated that was the ‘anointed’ successor of the currently embattled FIFA president, but that has proven to be a wrong speculation. Speaking in Zurich, 79-year-old Blatter this time backed Africa to produce the next FIFA president when the elections are held in February 2016 and supported candidature of Orji Uzor Kalu who he believes has what it takes to head world football governing body.
It should be recalled that in May 2015, a corruption scandal hit the football world which prompted its president, Mr. Sepp Blatter to resign, barely a week after winning the election for an unprecedented fifth term in office. And although he has consistently denied any wrong doing, he too was made the subject of a Swiss criminal investigation, launched alongside the US inquiry in September 2015.
According to the suspended FIFA president:
“The position of the FIFA president is too important to be left to just anybody. I have heard of some candidates who want to take over from me. But I find the Businessman from Nigeria, Kalu very qualified and interesting because he is not only a businessman, but a politician with lots of contacts and corporate experience. He can bring his great experiences to bear in the running of world football.
“He is passionate about the game. I remember how he sponsored one of Nigerian clubs to win the CAF championship twice. He is a man that can take world football to the next level”,
“If Africa hopes to win the support of other federations, then they must queue behind the Nigerian business man. Football has developed beyond just anybody taking over.
“I sacked Jerome Champgne in 2010 so how can he come back to lead an Association he tried to destroy. You need a man who can command respect and win friends for football. With Kalu Africa stands a better chance,” he told the Swiss Radio on Sunday.
CAF is expected to meet in Cairo next week to decide on a candidate for the election scheduled for next year. Orji Kalu (Nigeria), Segun Odegbami (Nigeria) and Musa Bility (Liberia) are the three candidates vying for the post from the black continent.
They will be contesting for the coveted presidential stool alongside other contenders such as Michel Platini, the suspended UEFA president, Prince Ali bin al Hussein, former FIFA vice president, David Nakhid, a former Trinidad and Tobago captain, Tokyo Sexwale, a South African politician and diamond tycoon, Jerome Champagne, a former FIFA official, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa, head of the Asian Football Confederation and Zico, former Brazilian World Cup star. More are expected to declare their interest before the deadline closes today, 26 October, 2015.
The election is due to hold on February 26, 2016 in Switzerland.
Just now…. 16:15 GMT
UEFA general secretary, Gianni Infantino has entered the Fifa presidential race – hours before the deadline and have received the backing of UEFA. Infantino joins suspended UEFA boss Michel Platini in the bid to replace outgoing president Sepp Blatter, 79.