KEIR RADNEDGE in AMMAN —- Africa has succeeded efficiently and in obediently due time in succeeding where Asia miserably failed and completing its elections to the expanded FIFA Council.
When the council convenes on October 13 and 14 Africa will have a full complement of seven voices around the table and Asia merely four in crucial discussions which might even include the delicate issue of future World Cup slots.
Last week, in a self-defeating hissy fit, the Asian Football Confederation left itself three voices short around the world federation’s top table in an utterly-avoidable row over an ethics ban on of its candidates, Qatar’s Saoud Al-Mohannadi.
No such mistake in Cairo by an CAF extraordinary general assembly which endorsed – for the next six months – the candidacies of second vice-president Almamy Kabele (Guinea) and executive committee member Kwesi Nyantakyi (Ghana).
They secured 37 and 31 votes respectively just ahead of mysterious fellow exco member Ahmad from Madagascar (30 votes) and Senegal federation president Augustin Senghor (nine).
The two join CAF president Issa Hayatou (Cameroon), Hani Abo Rida (Egypt), Constant Omari (DR Congo), Tarek Bouchamaoui (Tunisia) and Lydia Nsekera (Burundi) on the FIFA Council.
Hayatou’s continuing command of CAF, after 28 years, was maintained by his success in seeing off a revolt over a contentious, four-year-old regulation which restricts candidates for his succession only to members of the 12-person exco.
A proposal to scrap the rule from Djibouti was defeated 32-16 with five abstentions on a show of hands.
The hope within Africa for more World Cup slots was left tantalisingly open by FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
He told delegates: “Africa has a very important role in football. We have to move into action and let’s give Africa the place it deserves in world football. Africa will benefit most from a proposed increase in the football investment programme.
“It is my wish that a 40-team World cup will have at least two more slots for Africa. CAF must support FIFA to make this possible. The wind of reform is blowing and with the support of all we can be on the right track.”
The concept of an expanded World Cup will be discussed by FIFA Council in a fortnight’s time.
Africa, as a result of events these past two weeks, will be in a far better numerical state to press its own case than will ‘own goal Asia’.