Factors that ‘killed’ Odegbami’s FIFA Presidency bid



• Adamu, Kalu behind my failure, he says

Facts are beginning to emerge on why former Green Eagles skipper, Segun Odegbami, failed to get enough support for his bid to become the next FIFA President.

Odegbami and former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, showed interest in the FIFA presidential race to succeed outgoing President, Joseph Sepp Blatter, but the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) eventually picked Odegbami as the country’s nominee for the polls.

However, when the list of candidates for the presidential polls was released on Monday, Odegbami’s name was conspicuously missing.

Indication of interest for the polls officially ended on Monday.

The six contenders cleared for the polls are former FIFA vice-president, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan, ex-FIFA official Jerome Champagne, David Nakhid (one time Trinidad and Tobago international), Secretary General of the European federation UEFA, Gianni Infantino, Asian confederation leader Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa (Bahrain) and South African businessman, Tokyo Sexwale.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that Odegbami met a brick wall in his battle to get endorsement letters from four other football federations to support his bid.

According to a source, who pleaded anonymity yesterday, Odegbami’s alleged attack on CAF President (now Acting FIFA President), Issa Hayatou, worked against him.

In the course of his campaign, the former Green Eagles skipper (Odegbami) was said to have stepped on toes, especially his alleged letter calling for the removal of Hayatou as CAF boss.

It would be recalled that in one of his publications in June entitled: ‘Issa Hayatou must also go – for the good of African football,’ Odegbami said: “Indeed, I warn that the entire CAF Executive Committee created and nurtured by Issa Hayatou, the current 69 year old CAF President that has recently caused to be amended the statutes of CAF in order to enable him contest again and add another five years to his 27 years overstay as its helm next year, be not investigated.

“To do so is to reveal what would make the earth-shaking revelations about FIFA look like a page from a kindergarten book! CAF, the Confederation of African Football, is a hopeless case, beyond redemption. CAF’s case would make the world to apologise to Sepp Blatter for using the word ‘corruption’ to describe the activities of FIFA in the same planet where CAF and CONCACAF exist!

“So, the best thing would be for Africa to beg Issa Hayatou, to plead with him, to passionately appeal to him, to voluntarily retire from the administration of football in Africa and offer him the amnesty of ‘No probe’. He must also be implored, as he leaves CAF, to take along with him all his friends, family members and cronies in the Executive Committee of CAF where once-indicted and suspended corrupt officials are celebrated, re-absorbed, recycled, and reinstalled back into administration with blatant impunity.

“African football administration requires complete fumigation! And it must start with the immediate end to Hayatou’s reign.”

The source told The Guardian yesterday that virtually all the football federations Odegbami approached for endorsement refused because of his ‘hard stance’ against their boss, Hayatou.

“Maybe, if Hayatou was not named FIFA Acting President, Odegbami could have easily gotten the nominations from those countries. To be sincere, the NFF tried for Odegbami, but it became a hopeless situation when all other football federations in Africa shut their doors against him. He may have learnt his lesions,” the source added.

Meanwhile, Odegbami has blamed former FIFA executive committee member, Amos Adamu, and rival, Orji Uzor Kalu, for his failure to get the backing of other African countries in his quest to be elected new FIFA boss.

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