South Africa's Tokyo Sexwale to run for Fifa presidency

Tokyo Sexwale
Tokyo Sexwale

South African businessman and former political prisoner Tokyo Sexwale is to run for the presidency of world football's governing body Fifa, a spokesman said on Saturday.

Sexwale, who confirmed his candidacy two days before the deadline for registrations, is the third African candidate to declare his bid to replace the outgoing Sepp Blatter.

Former Nigeria international Segun Odegbami has also declared an interest, as has Musa Bility, the head of Liberia's Football Association.

"He is South Africa's candidate and we hope he will be all of Africa's candidate," spokesman Peter Paul Ngwenya told the Reuters news agency.

A close friend of the late former South African president Nelson Mandela, the pair having spent 13 years together at the Robben Island prison, Sexwale was a member of the African National Congress and a post-apartheid government minister before moving into business.

The South African Football Association (Safa) said it fully supported Sexwale's bid.

"It was a unanimous decision and we will now move to engage Caf [Confederation of African Football] on our decision and see how we can coordinate our decisions going forward," said Safa President, Dr Danny Jordaan.

"We will also engage various other federations together with Mr Sexwale to enlist their support because his victory will usher in a new era not only for the continent but the entire world," Dr Jordaan added.

Four other candidates say they have submitted nominations for the election which will take place on 26 February 2016.

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, former Trinidad and Tobago midfielder David Nakhid, ex-Fifa official Jerome Champagne and Michel Platini, president of European Football's ruling body UEFA, also say they have submitted their papers.

Platini is currently suspended, along with Sepp Blatter, pending a Fifa ethics investigation.

Their suspensions earlier this month were the latest twists in Fifa's worst crisis in its 111-year history.

Swiss authorities are also investigating the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively while the U.S. Department of Justice has indicted 14 football officials and sports marketing executives on a series of corruption charges.