Fifa election race heads to Cairo

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The three candidates vying to unseat incumbent Sepp Blatter will all be in the Egyptian capital for Tuesday's Confederation of African Football Congress to canvas support on a continent expected to be solidly behind the Fifa president as he bids for a fifth successive term in office.

Fifa vice-president Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, Dutch FA president Michael van Praag and former Portugal international Luis Figo are not expected to make much headway among the 54 African countries who have traditionally been backers of Blatter.

But they will attempt to persuade individual countries of their credentials while Blatter will be hoping for an enthusiastic acclamation at the congress to bolster his status as firm favourite for the poll in Zurich at the end of May.

The Caf congress is the latest stop for all candidates, who have already swung through similar confederation congresses in Asuncion and Vienna. Next they will be in the Bahamas for the Concacaf congress next week, followed by the Asian version in Bahrain at the end of the month.

Blatter used a column in the latest edition of his organisation's mouthpiece Fifa Weekly to call for respect for the African game. “The refreshing skills and technical finesse of the African teams are among the greatest attractions at the World Cup,” he wrote.

Luis Figo responded on Sunday by saying: “Africa lives and loves football much as I do. I know that Fifa has been doing relevant things in Africa but Fifa can and should do much more to help develop African football.”

The Congress will elect two places to the all-important Fifa executive committee and also pass an amendment to the statutes, doing away with age limits for office bearers to allow CAF president Issa Hayatou to continue his long-standing tenure at the head of the organisation.

Caf will also decide the next host of the African Nations Cup in 2017, after the withdrawal of war-torn Libya, and hold the draw for the qualifiers on Wednesday. – Reuters

Original source: Fifa election race heads to Cairo

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