Monday, April 11, 2011

Bin Hammam Extends FIFA Presidency Campaign to WAFU

Bin Hammam (Getty Images)
The President of the Asian Football Federation, Mohammed Bin Hammam has sought for support from the West African Football Union (WAFU) in a campaign on his bid to become the President of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA).
Bin Hammam, a member of the FIFA executive committee, told WAFU at its Extraordinary General Assembly in Banjul, The Gambia on April 9, 2011 that he has come to campaign amongst “brothers and sisters”.
“It is right and long overdue that the stage of friendship has passed, we are brothers and sisters and we have passed through thick and thin in our endeavours and have come to know each others problems,” he said.
He added: “I am vying for the FIFA presidency and I represent not only my country or region but the world at large.”

Bin Hammam, a Qatari, said the current FIFA President, have done a lot of good work in the history of football, however, he thinks it is time for change.
“I will not promise because promises are not for us, but I believe that the moment I become President, I will ensure that the financial strength of smaller countries and federations will change drastically,” he said.

While commending South Africa’s Danny Jordan and its Football Association President for hosting successfully the 2010 World Cup, he told the General Assembly that they should not fail to remember how Africa and Asia were forgotten by FIFA in the past.

Speaking earlier, the Former Sports Minister of Ghana, Abdul Rashid said it is important for West Africa to ensure that it continues to lead soccer in Africa. Africa lacks behind in many things and it is time that “we move together”.

“If a person of African ancestry is vying for FIFA Presidency, we have a cause to support him. In Ghana, we have no problem with that because we believe in Pan-Africanism,” Mr. Rashid said.

On his part, Mr. Leo Tenga of CECAFA said meetings like this one are very important for the development of football, noting that Africa has been faced with serious issues when it comes to development.

However, he said “We should not be afraid of these issues; instead, we should take the bull by the horn in tackling them by taking critical decisions”.

The President of the Liberian Football Association, Mr. Musa Hassan Bility said Africa has achieved a lot from FIFA under the leadership of Joseph S. Blatter and they will always be grateful for that.

However, he said the question is where do we go from here? The world is changing very fast politically, so as in football. “The leadership of football has remained in one continent for over 50 years,” he lamented, while asking the General Assembly whether they as Africans are ready to perpetrate or change that.
According to him, Europe has rallied behind their President. “So are we going to back Joseph Blatter and wait for another 16 years to elect another president or will we elect Bin Hammam,” he quizzed.

“We in WAFU are in support of Bin Hammam because we want to move from being followers to become leaders. We will need to demand for more money to support our football.”

Mr. Bility stressed that they cannot spend $6 million to host the Africa Cup of Nations and when you win it you get only $1.6 million, a deficit of $5.4 million.

The President of the Football Association in Niger, Colonel Djibriua Hima said WAFU should be united in its actions, saying that they cannot really be quite about the solidarity bestowed on African football by Bin Hammam.

His equal from Sierra Leone, also echoed similar sentiments. The event was co-organised by the Gambia Football Association (GFA) and WAFU. Mr. Hammam and Mr. Blatter are vying for the FIFA Presidency, elections to be held in Zurich on June 1, 2011.

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