Cameroonian Zelkifli Ngoufonja has announced his candidacy for the remaining African seat on the Fifa Council less than a month after he resigned from his position as Fifa Senior Development Manager for Africa.
In an exclusive interview with supersport.com, Zul said, “My former position at Fifa has certainly helped to have a certain level of proximity with the 54 African members but it would not have suffice to just be in that position.”Zul, as his colleagues and friends commonly refer him to, was backed by the Cameroon FA and will be up against Egyptian Hany Abu Rida, Tanzanian Leodagar Tenga and Namibia’s Frans Mbidi for the remaining position.
“The real difference comes from the commitment, achievements and trust earned whilst at Fifa. The real difference is that people know me as a principled man and one who will always put the continent’s interest first and who is never shy to express clearly his thoughts.”
Zul has promised to focus a lot on youth development and said it is a priority for him because he “intends to work closely with football associations to develop programs with sustainable resources.”
“Despite the increase of funds from Fifa, the challenge remains and my objective is first to work with the members to ensure that they are in line with the criteria set by Fifa and as one of the people who developed the Fifa Forward program at this level, I am certainly an asset for the continent.”
“We have various corporate and international organizations that have programs targeting the youth and are willing to support youth programs and federations have not really tapped into those yet.”
Zul has pledged to donate half of his income as Fifa Council member (the full amount is $300,000)
At 39, Zul will be the youngest Fifa Council member, with newly elected Caf President Ahmad Ahmad (Madagascar), Lydia Nsekera (Burundi), Constant Omari (DR Congo), Almamy Kabele Camara (Guinea), Tarek Bouchamaoui (Tunisia) and Kwesi Nyantakyi (Ghana) as the African representatives.
In the new wind of change sweeping African football, Zul’s candidacy will challenge the new order on whether they will be vengeful or indeed this is the inclusion that Ahmad preached about during his campaign.
Already there is a growing concern from Cairo that Caf is claiming that his candidacy was handed in late despite him proving otherwise, leaving a sense of uncertainty with over a week to the Fifa Congress set for May 11 in Manama, Bahrain.
Caf is yet to make an official announcement of the list of contenders for the remaining Fifa Council seat but is expected to do so later this week.