(WFI) Confederation of African Football chief Issa Hayatou says CAF federations are right behind Sepp Blatter’s quest for a fifth term at the helm of world football.
Speaking at the CAF Congress in Cairo on Tuesday, the staunch Blatter loyalist said Africa’s All 54 member federations “guarantee their votes for the Swiss at the presidential election in Zurich on May 29.
His comments were greeted with a round of applause from officials present from Africa’s football associations.
“I am thus tempted to say to candidate Blatter that he is preaching to converts here at CAF. His actions in favour of Africa speak for him. To us, he is still the man of the moment,” Hayatou of Cameroon told the congress.
“Dear Sepp, Africa is comfortable having you. Africa stays with you!”
At a congress reception on Monday night, the 68-year-old Hayatou also drove home the message that Blatter was the man to lead FIFA for another four years. He made similar comments at the CAF Congress in Sao Paulo last summer.
“I want to reiterate that here in Africa you are never on some strange or hostile territory,” Hayatou said last night.
His comments were music to the ears of the 79-year-old FIFA incumbent, who addressed the CAF Congress on Tuesday.
But Hayatou’s remarks were clearly designed to rebuff the advances of Blatter’s three presidential challengers Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, Dutch FA president Michael van Praag and former Portugal star Luis Figo.
The trio are also at the Cairo congress lobbying for support on the sidelines of the congress.
Hayatou’s comments suggest they have a lot of work to do to convince African FAs to vote for them.
Unlike at the UEFA Congress two weeks’ ago, they were not given the chance to pitch their manifestos to delegates.
The 54 federations will today vote on a proposal to ditch an age limit from CAF’s statutes, a move designed to pave the way for Hayatou to keep a grip on African football beyond his seventh term. If the 70 limit is scrapped, he could be re-elected when his current mandate ends in 2017.
Two new African FIFA ExCo members will also be elected today. Tarek Bouchamaoui of Tunisia and Constant Omari Selemani of the Democratic Republic of Congo are tipped to secure the seats at FIFA’s top table.