Pretoria – Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula has taken note of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announcement of its support for Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Sheikh Salman in the FIFA presidential race.
“Minister Fikile Mbalula is aware that the Confederation of African Football announced its support for Asian Football Confederation president, Mr Sheikh Salman, in the FIFA presidential race, instead of South Africa’s Mr Tokyo Sexwale,” said the Department of Sport and Recreation on Tuesday.
The CAF decision is a sequel to a meeting the South African Football Association (SAFA) had with Sexwale to get appraised on his presidential campaign. The SAFA National Executive Committee (NEC) had earlier resolved to throw its weight behind 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 Danny Jordaan travelled to the CAF to seek its endorsement of his candidacy.”
It emerged last week that CAF has chosen not to endorse Sexwale’s campaign. Minister Mbalula said he respects CAF’s decision.
“Sexwale’s courage to raise his hand is an act of courage and not disdain. By doing so, he exercised 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,” said Minister Mbalula.
Sexwale will continue with his campaign, notwithstanding the CAF decision. SAFA will meet with him to review his campaign and discuss the strategy going forward.
“Election campaigns are by their very nature rough and tumble, inevitably robust and fluid. It is to be expected that Sexwale’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,” said Minister Mbalula.
In addition, the Ministry will closely follow developments in the matter, with the Minister having been assured by SAFA that he will be informed of developments and plans every step of the way.