CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - FIFA presidential candidate Tokyo Sexwale will seek continent-wide support in a final bid to revive his ailing election campaign at a meeting of African football leaders on Friday.
Sexwale was grilled on Tuesday by high-ranking officials of his home South African Football Association (SAFA), who had earlier endorsed his candidacy in the race to replace Sepp Blatter.
SAFA wanted answers about Sexwale’s election tactics and the unconvincing progress of his campaign after they had backed his bid for the presidency and helped him obtain the five nominations needed to stand to replace Blatter.
SAFA president Danny Jordaan called Sexwale’s report to them “comprehensive” but said they would only comment further after a meeting of officials of the Confederation of African Football (CAF)in Kigali, Rwanda, on Friday, in what will be Sexwale’s final opportunity to win support before the Feb. 26 election.
Failure to land an endorsement from African football’s governing body is likely to stall Sexwale’s bid in its tracks.
There had been some media reports that dissatisfaction with his campaign was such that he might be asked to withdraw his candidacy on Tuesday but they proved unfounded.
Sexwale is a former political prisoner who was jailed alongside Nelson Mandela and served as Premier of Gauteng province, South Africa’s economic heartland, and later as a cabinet minister in South Africa. He also proved successful in mining and other businesses.
Yet he is an outsider in the five-man race to become football’s global leader.
He faces UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino, Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman Al Khalifa, former FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and the long-odds outsider, Jerome Champagne.
Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ian Chadband