Segun Odegbami, former captain of Nigerian Super Eagles, fails in his bid to contest for the president of Fifa
SEGUN Odegbami, former Nigerian international, on Monday, October 26, failed in his bid to stand in the Fifa presidential election slated for February 26, next year.
Odegbami was unable to get the required backing of five member associations.
The 63-year-old former captain of Super Eagles blamed his failure on the late support of the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF. Odegbami said the NFF only sent its nomination letter to Fifa, on Monday, October 26, afternoon.
“What was I supposed to do with that? That was their reaction to my letter sent to them two months ago. It is preposterous,” he said.
Odegbami also believes that his outspoken criticism of Issa Hayatou, president of the Confederation of African Football, CAF, could have also counted against him.
“Of course there are local politics within the Nigerian and African football system that pitches some of us against the established system,” he said, adding: “I have been one of the most virulent critics of the perpetuity in office of Issa Hayatou in office and I knew I was not one of his best friends.”
Nicknamed ‘Mathematical’ for the precision of his play, the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations winner announced his candidacy on 1 September.
Odegbami said Amaju Pinnick, president of the NFF, was on the CAF business on Monday in Cairo, Egyptian capital, where he tried in vain to secure support for him.
Narrating his ordeal, he said: “The local politics within Nigerian football created a delay in nominating me. By the time the NFF did it was too late in the day for me to secure the necessary endorsements from five different countries. I had only a few hours to do so.
“My intention was to get them from a few neighbouring countries as soon as I got the nomination through. By the time I was officially informed the African FA presidents had all congregated in Cairo, Egypt for their scheduled Caf meeting.
“I could not go there at such notice because I did not have the visa to Egypt. The president of the Nigeria Federation decided he would take up that responsibility and convince his friends in CAF to endorse me. Apparently he did not succeed for whatever reason.”
That notwithstanding, Odegbami is not about to give up as he said in an interview: “My responsibility to football now is to find an inroad into administration at the highest level because I can see what most cannot about the power of football to change the world.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the journey and learnt a great deal about the politics in continental and world football, and how humans behave under certain situations.
“Believe me the drama in Fifa has not ended. Indeed, I believe it has only just begun.”
Eight candidates successfully made the Monday deadline to file their papers. They include Tokyo Sexwale of South Africa and Musa Bility of Liberia. The rest are Michel Platini, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, Gianni Infantino, Prince Ali bin Hussein, David Nakhid and Jerome Champagne.
However, the bid by Platini, Uefa president, is subject to him winning his appeal against a 90-day suspension imposed by Fifa’s Ethics Committee earlier in the month.
— Nov 9, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT