PRETORIA: Tokyo Sexwale’s campaign for the FIFA presidency is close to coming to a premature end writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The South African businessman was not surprised that the executive committee of the African confederation decided on Friday to formally endorse the candidacy of Asian president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahin Al Khalifa; this had been in the offing since the AFC-CAF development agreement last month.

However Sexwale had already been warned by his own home South African Football Association that his candidacy would be considered dead in the water once CAF had made up its mind.

His faint prospects of rescuing any African support were further reduced when the associations of Egypt and Liberia both confirmed they would be voting for Prince Ali of Jordan in the FIFA election on February 26 to choose a successor to disgraced and banned Sepp Blatter.

Prince Ali is also expected to garner further north African support while SAFA president Danny Jordaan is well aware that the vast majority of European votes will be cast in favour of the UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino.

This all leaves Sexwale nowhere to go for support and renders pointless any further effort in a decidedly lacklustre campaign to which Nelson Mandela’s former fellow Robben Island inmate had never appeared fully committed.

A confirmatory statement on the CAF website said: “The CAF executive committee, during its meeting, noted the withdrawal of Mr Tokyo Sexwale from the race for FIFA presidency in order to support the interests and unity of African football.”

The other candidate in the FIFA race is the former world federation official Jerome Champagne.