Dubai: The UAE Football Association (UAEFA) President Yousuf Al Sarkal on Monday reiterated his optimism about winning the top post at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) when the elections are held on May 2.
After having to deal with the recent alignment of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) with Bahrain’s Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and the threat of dealing with internal strife within the AFC, Al Sarkal said: “For the past two or three years we have been dealing with politics and we have been living and experiencing this volatility at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur. Politics destroy the sport and unity of the people. Therefore I want to re-unite the sport with me as the president.”
Al Sarkal and Shaikh Salman are seen as the main candidates for the presidency, with Thailand’s Worawi Makudi another candidate and Saudi Arabia’s Dr. Hafez Al Medlej having shown signs of withdrawing from the race.
On Monday, using the slogan “Football at Heart”, Al Sarkal launched his election manifesto that included six pledges that he believes can transform the AFC. “We are at a time when our stakeholders believe that leaders in the game are only in it for themselves. This must change. I want to see an AFC where football is the first and only topic on the agenda,” he said.
“I am confident I will be getting enough votes to win. Ever since I announced I would be running in the elections, I have received a lot of confidence to make me feel comfortable that I can win. I am very confident of winning,” Al Sarkal said.
A meeting with Fifa President Sepp Blatter last month and his attendance at the Asean Football Federation Awards last week have further fuelled his belief of success.
“Football is my second family. I am obsessed and have been connected with football for so many years now. I have lived football in all ways. At this moment I am both happy and proud to be here as one of the candidates for being the next AFC President. And whether I win or not, I will continue serving football,” he added.
Asked to expound on his strong points as the most suitable candidate, Al Sarkal said: “I am ambitious in being the AFC President as I will have the positive role of influencing the members. I am convinced that in case I do become the President through my personality and relations with fellow associations I will be able to bring something new to the table.
“While I have a lot of respect for the others in the fray, I simply think that I am the best candidate and the most suitable one as well. I have diverse experience and I am obsessed with the sport. I believe this obsession will lead us all to better football in Asia,” he added.