Cape Town - Minister
of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, has issued a media statement regarding the FIFA presidential race.
Mbalula is aware that the Confederation of Africa Football CAF announced its support for Asian Football Confederation AFC president, Mr Sheikh Salman, in the FIFA presidential race instead of South Africa’s Mr Tokyo Sexwale.
The CAF decision is a sequel to a meeting the South African Football Association (SAFA) had with Mr Tokyo Sexwale to get appraised on his presidential campaign. The SAFA National Executive Committee (NEC) had earlier resolved to throw its weight behind Mr Tokyo Sexwale's campaign and support his candidacy. The Ministry is aware of the tremendous efforts Mr Sexwale has made to brief African football stakeholders and solicit support from the African continent.
It is now common knowledge that Mr Sexwale together with the SAFA President, Dr Danny Jordaan traveled to the CAF to seek CAF's endorsement of his candidacy. It transpired last week that CAF has chosen not to endorse Mr Sexwale's campaign as indicated above. The Minister of Minister of Sport and Recreation in SA respect the decision of our African compatriots for whatever reasons CAF advanced for not lending their support to our fellow countryman's candidacy.
"Comrade Tokyo's courage to raise his hand is an act of courage and not disdain. By doing so, he exercise his inalienable democratic right as a member of the FIFA community to make a choice between standing and not standing for elections. He is a product of a sport-loving nation in whose heartbeat and veins the game of football reigns supreme. He is a son of the soil and a leader in his own right in the African continent, a continent that, hitherto, despite its massive participation rate and popular support for the game of football, neither laid claim nor ascended to the position of the FIFA President in its years of FIFA's existence", said Minister Mbalula.
The Ministry is informed that Mr Sexwale will continue with the campaign notwithstanding the CAF decision and that SAFA will meet Mr Sexwale to review the campaign and to discuss the strategy going forward. The Ministry will closely follow developments in this regard and Minister Mbalula been assured by SAFA that he will be informed of developments and plans every step of the way.
"Election campaigns are by their very nature rough and tumble, inevitably robust and fluid. It is to be expected that Tokyo's campaign will take similar twists and turns, high and lows until the white smoke comes off the chimney. Mr Sexwale continues to enjoy the unconditional support of the Ministry and Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa.” Minister Mbalula ended.