END OF A LEGACY: African Quotes In Support Of Sepp Blatter’s Re-election
When FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced Tuesday afternoon he was resigning from the helm of football’s governing body, the world stood still. Yes, literally.
Social media was abuzz with the news but for most critics, the general feeling was ‘about time’. Still, the world was in electrifying shock.
Barely 96 hours into his fifth term as FIFA president after been re-elected last Friday, the change in tide was least expected given the tremendous support Blatter received ahead of the election.
Sepp Blatter received “converts” support from Africa, a region which has enjoyed disposable favour based on his approach of “equity, fairness and equality”.
Below are direct comments made by African football leaders that set the tone for Blatter’s successful re-election bid.
Pronouncing unequivocally Africa’s support for Mr. Blatter, CAF President Issa Hayatou said:
“I am thus tempted to say to candidate Sepp Blatter that he is preaching to converts. His actions [which] favour Africa, speak for him. To us, he is still the man of the moment.” – Issa Hayatou, President, Confederation of African Football (CAF)
Perhaps Hayatou’s comment was more winsome, same cannot be said for Nascimento Lopes.
"I'm a Christian and this is blasphemy… Africa will vote for Mr. Blatter and I will follow that. I agree at some point there has to be change but let Blatter finish his mandate and see what he does… If you point three fingers at someone, there's is always one you point at yourself. Tomorrow we are going to vote for Blatter…" – Manuel Nascimento Lopes, President, Guinea-Bissau Football Association
With South Africa grappling with corruption allegations related to hosting the 2010 World Cup and no official statement on their support for Blatter, Nigeria’s Pinnick has been resolute.
“Blatter feels Africa, he sees Africa and he has imparted so much – a lot of developmental programmes. Without Blatter we wouldn’t enjoy all the benefits we enjoy today from FIFA. What Blatter pushes is equity, fairness and equality among the nations. We don’t want to experiment.” – Amaju Pinnick, President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)
Zambia, a beneficiary of FIFA’s football development programmes is not left out.
“He’s the only candidate we know who has been supporting football for a long time…Sepp Blatter is trusted…I don’t think if there was any other person at FIFA that South Africa would have won.” – Kalusha Bwalya, President, Football Association of Zambia (FAZ)
With all the goodwill backing for Blatter, there is still a sense of caution.
“I have been wondering how Mr. Blatter did not know what was going on but we will still vote for him.” – Anonymous, Burundi Football Federation
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