Tokyo Sexwale (Getty)
(ATR) Tokyo Sexwale’s lackluster FIFA presidential campaign may fizzle out next week when he is grilled by South African FA leaders.
Sexwale has been asked to appear before the South African FA’s executive committee amid concerns that his low-key bid to secure the FIFA hot seat is making no impact globally, while his rivals are securing endorsements across the six football confederations.
South African spokesman Dominic Chimhavi tells Around the Rings
that the meeting at SAFA headquarters could take place early next week. SAFA's football chiefs endorsed Sexwale's bid and are demanding answers before a Confederation of African Football meeting on Feb. 5.
ATR was told by Sexwale’s spokesman Peter-Paul Ngwenya late Wednesday that the millionaire business tycoon is in Qatar at the invitation of Asian Football Confederation president Shaikh Salman. Salman will attend the AFC U23 Championship final in Doha on Saturday, with Sexwale a possible guest.
Sexwale, a FIFA racism advisor, is expected back in South Africa in the next few days, Ngwenya confirmed.
Ngwenya said the meeting with South African leaders next week was to provide an update on Sexwale’s campaign.
With Sexwale struggling to gather support on his privately-funded globe-trotting mission to lobby FIFA’s 209 federations, it would be no major surprise if his campaign was derailed by the South African FA.
Asked if there was a possibility SAFA might call for Sexwale to withdraw his FIFA candidacy, Chimhavi said: “We will be guided by him on the day.”
The 62-year-old, an apartheid-era political prisoner on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela, launched his campaign in October. But since then he has failed to get strong backing from the Confederation of African Football or its president and interim FIFA chief Issa Hayatou. And he has gained little headway in landing support from Africa's 54 federations - or any elsewhere.
Three months ago, Franz Beckenbauer endorsed Sexwale after the South African attended his annual Camp Beckenbauer. The German football legend suggested the German FA would also support him. The German FA (DFB) last week announced its support for UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino.
Sexwale has no official campaign website and is not active on Twitter or other social media platforms unlike his rivals.
At the ICSS Securing Sport summit in New York, Sexwale wasted the opportunity to outline his vision to overhaul scandal-tarred FIFA in a 30-minute keynote address. Asked by ATR at the time why he squandered the speaking slot to steal a march on his six rivals in the FIFA contest, he said: "It was not going to be a sing-song about me. I thought it would be an abuse of a platform."
Sexwale said then that he was getting "traction" in his FIFA campaign, insisting he could secure votes from within and outside Africa, even in the back yard of rival Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim al Khalifa. ATR understands that the Asian Football Confederation president is confident of locking up the majority of Asia's votes.
Prince Ali Bin al Hussein, Jerome Champagne are the other candidates vying to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter in the Feb. 26 election in Zurich.
Reported by Mark Bisson
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