FIFA Presidential candidates, Tokyo Sexwale and Gianni Infantino, paid a visit to Robben Island on Monday ahead of the FIFA election in Zurich this Friday.
Sexwale says the Makana Football Association, the only football prison league to be awarded the Honorary FIFA Award in recognition of football as an instrument for resistance and reconciliation, should be used as an example to change the damaged reputation that exists within the soccer body at present.
Sexwale invited the other three candidates, Prince Ali Hussein, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Jerome Champagne, but they were unable to attend.
Sexwale says, "One of us, whoever becomes president, must know that the whole world, Chad, Haiti, Fiji … all the places where people don't have opportunities to play football, we started with these conditions and turned them around so that people are not imprisoned. We played football here for freedom, for reconciliation. That's why we were able to host the World Cup here. Nelson Mandela is from here."
Infantino says should he become president of FIFA, he plans to work with Tokyo. "My task, if I become FIFA President, is to work together with Tokyo. To all those people, who want to work towards the good of football, to transform these brown patches to green pitches, to make children smile and to bring hope to all those who live and love this game."
Many have expected Sexwale's faltering campaign to end and for him to withdraw but the ANC veteran remains confident. "FIFA is a damaged brand. Corruption was rife in the eyes of the people, children, governments and the eyes of the media. We are no longer trusted, as an organisation. The idea is to transform the organisation by implementing reforms and to turn the organisation around."
Asian Football Confederation President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and UEFA General Secretary Infantino are the front runners to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter on Friday who won't be an option for the first time in 22 years.