KUALA LUMPUR: Yousuf Al Serkal, one of the contenders in next month’s election for the AFC president, will be stepping into the Asian equivalent of a footballing lions’ den.

Al Serkal has accepted invitations to attend meetings of the football federation of the Association of South East Asian Nations even though it has come out unanimously for one of his opponents.

The events include an awards night in Malaysia to celebrate the achievements of players, coaches and referees across the region.

Worawi Makudi, president of the Thai federation and a member of the executive committee of world governing body FIFA, is ASEAN’s choice for president when the AFC election takes place in Kuala Lumpur on May 2.

Al Serkal, UAE football leader who is also an AFC vice-president, took the invitations at face value.


He said: “I am honoured to have been invited to attend the AFF Awards Night and am looking forward to hearing first-hand about the excellent progress that is taking place across many levels of football in the region.

“I would like to pay tribute to the AFF for inviting me to these key events even though I am running for AFC presidency against a candidate from the region.

“I respect this open approach and willingness to listen to other candidates, and I am very much committed to this style of open governance and dialogue if I am successful in my bid to become AFC president.”

Al Serkal offered his congratulations for the football development work being undertaken in the region and paid tribute to the commitment of the executive under president Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah.

He added: “If I am elected president of the AFC, I am absolutely committed to giving more freedom to the regional federations to drive forward training and development programmes, given the excellent work already taking place.”

The AFF members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-L’Este, Vietnam. Australia is a co-opted member.

Regional awards on offer include player, referee and team of the year.

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