Pretoria – Top African football administrators have declared their support for the re-election of FIFA President, Joseph Blatter for another term in office at the upcoming FIFA Congress.
The FIFA Congress will be held on 1 June in Zurich, Switzerland. Blatter is contesting the FIFA presidency against Asian confederation leader Mohamed Bin Hammam.
The support for Blatter’s re-election was announced by the President of the Union des Federations de Football d’Afrique Centrale, Mahomed Iya.
Influential African football leaders declared their support for the re-election of Blatter during a meeting convened by the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) on Saturday in Johannesburg.
Iya further said: “Africa and African football will never be the same again after the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Its success has affirmed our belief that we have what it takes to deliver. We now feel powerful, strong and more courageous to overcome our challenges.”
The African football leaders also spoke emotively about the powerful impact the success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, in which President Blatter played an influential role, had for the legacy of football on the African continent.
COSAFA President Suketu Patel said: “After the success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup we as Africans felt pride, dignity and hope. Before the World Cup, Africans were always seen as second-class, people who were asking rather than giving.
“But all that has now changed. We’re very satisfied with the turn-out and participation of today’s meeting, which can only be good for the future of African football.”
Blatter who also attended the meeting with his secretary-general, Jerome Valcke said: “The significance of our meeting with some of the national associations today was to define what this legacy of hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup meant for Africa and ensure that we carry on with our work.
“It’s often touching to hear stories of people in South Africa and Africa on how the hosting of the tournament impacted on their lives.”
2010 FIFA World Cup organising committee boss, Danny Jordaan said the gathering was a significant moment towards safeguarding and sustaining the legacy of the World Cup for Africa.
“It’s important that as Africans, we speak with one voice as we build on the momentum created by the hosting of the tournament last year.
“This meeting was a positive step towards achieving that goal. We believe that the 2010 World Cup will provide many valuable lessons to future hosts more especially the next in line, Brazil,” he said.
A total of 37 football associations affiliated to the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the Presidents of 29 associations, eight vice-presidents and the secretary-general of four CAF regional zones were part of the gathering. – Nthambeleni Gabara, BuaNews