The Confederation of African Football (Caf) is solidly behind the candidature of Sepp Blatter in next month’s Fifa presidential election, Issa Hayatou reaffirmed on Tuesday.
President of African football body Hayatou, in his opening speech at the annual General Assembly in Cairo, promised “total support” from all of Africa’s 54 member countries for Blatter.
“Dear Sepp, Africa is comfortable having you. Africa stays with you!” the Cameroonian-born football chief said. “Africa decided to totally support Blatter for a new term at the helm of FIFA.”
Blatter, who is seeking for a fifth tenure as head of Fifa, earlier took to the podium to address the Caf assembly in his role as Fifa president.
The trio of oppositions: Fifa vice-president Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan, Dutch FA boss Michael van Praag and ex-Portugal international Luis Figo, who were also in attendance, were not permitted to address the congress. Caf said they were attending as “observers.”
Member associations are however not under any obligation to oblige to Hayatou’s directive. Yet the Swiss is expected to have a strong supporter’s base in Africa, which carries 54 of the 209 Fifa member countries eligible to vote in the presidential election in Zurich on May 29.
“I am thus tempted to say to candidate Blatter that he is preaching to converts here at Caf,” Hayatou continued.
“All 54 member federations of CAF guarantee their votes for when the time comes. in Zurich in on May 29.”
Blatter first assumed office as Fifa president in 1998. In his speech, the 79-year-old pondered on the continent’s achievements during his time, including the 2010 World Cup in South Africa- the first on black soil.
He commended Hayatou, referring to the 68-year-old as a “pillar” of African football.
Blatter said: “Together, we can continue writing great chapters of African football. You are confederation with highest numbers. African football has its say in world football, for the world, for the game and for Africa in unity and solidarity.”