Top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation have arrived at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland ahead of Friday’s extraordinary congress of football’s world governing body.
NFF President Amaju Pinnick, 1st Vice President Seyi Akinwunmi and General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi flew out of Nigeria on Wednesday morning for the congress, which highlight is the election of a new FIFA President among five men of varying ages and comportment.
The world’s media have continued to underscore Sheikh Salman bin al-Khalifa from Bahrain and Italian-Swiss Gianni Infantino as favourites ahead of South African Tokyo Sexwale, Frenchman Jerome Champagne and Prince Ali bin al-Hussein from Jordan.
Al-Khalifa, 50, appears in good stead after securing the backing of the Confederation of African Football, whose supremo, Issa Hayatou, is acting FIFA president. Al-Khalifa will also expect total support from the Asian confederation, which he heads.
However, Infantino, 45, expects support from the European bloc, and sympathy from a few other places. The youngest of the quintet is 40-year old Prince al-Hussein, who secured over 70 votes in a clash with former president Blatter last summer before opting out of a second ballot.
The oldest is former South African anti-apartheid campaigner and Government Minister, Tokyo Sexwale, but the 62 –year old, having failed to secure his own confederation’s backing, is making himself open to ‘alliances’.
Former FIFA deputy secretary general Jerome Champagne, 57, stormed out of the CAF meeting in Kigali last month after the African chiefs opted to back Salman al-Khalifa.