Amid reports that almost half of Africa’s federations look set to oppose the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF’s) instruction to support Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa in this month’s Fifa presidential elections, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has said it will make its own decision.
CAF on Friday pledged support to the Bahraini at a meeting held in Rwanda’s capital Kigali while overlooking the candidacy of Africa’s only entrant, Tokyo Sexwale of South Africa.
But when asked for theirposition, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday said: “It’s a right of member associations to vote.
“We will inform our decisions independently andlet the best candidate win.”
Last Friday, Nyamilandu said no decision has been taken by FAM on which candidate to endorse.
“We are taking our time, it’s still early days,” he said.
However, CAF first vice-president Suketu Patel, who is also Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) head, to which FAM is a member, was quoted by goal.com as saying: “The executive committee decided that CAF will give full support to Sheikh Salman with his candidacy for Fifa presidency.”
CAF second vice-president Almamy Kabele Camara said the decision was taken “unanimously”.
Africa’s football governing body has 54 votes at its disposal, the most of any of the world’s regional governing bodies, and four of the five contenders came to Rwanda’s capital to find out who Africa wants as its standard-bearer.
CAF chiefs met on the sidelines of the African Nations Championship (Chan) tournament played in Kigali.
Meanwhile, Liberia FA president Musa Bility was quoted by the BBC Sport yesterday saying half of Africa’s federations look set to oppose the CAF’s instruction to support Sheikh Salman.
Bility, a one-time candidate in the Fifa race himself, before being excluded on eligibility grounds, says he is backing Prince Ali of Jordan.
“I have been in contact with 26 African FA presidents and none will vote for Sheikh Salman,” Bility claimed on BBC Sport.
Sheikh Salman, from Bahrain, is the president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). He faces Uefa’s number two Gianni Infantino, Sexwale, Jerome Champagne, a former assistant secretary general of Fifa and Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan.
The vote for football’s top job is on February 26.