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Former Green Eagles captain, Segun Odegbami declared his intention to replace Sepp Blatter as president of football’s world governing body FIFA on Tuesday. He becomes the second Nigerian after ex-Governor Orji Uzor Kalu to declare his intention to succeed the embattled FIFA boss. Seventy-nine-year-old Sepp Blatter resigned just two weeks after winning a fifth term earlier this year with FIFA, embroiled in allegations of corruption as 14 FIFA and sports business executives were charged by the US authorities in May for over more than $150 million in bribes allegedly paid for television and marketing deals. Seven FIFA officials have been detained but Blatter has not been linked to any corruption case. Odegbami, who played for Nigeria between 1976 and 1981, described himself as an “African candidate” and said FIFA needed a new era of leadership to restore dignity to the sport after recent scandals. “The current scandal at FIFA is the organisation’s worst crisis in its 111 years of existence. Moving forward, FIFA thus require a new era of leadership that can restore the dignity of the noble sport and that of this esteemed international institution,” said Odegbami. He added: “Times like this call for all concerned members of the global football family to contribute to the actualization of renewed objectives for FIFA by electing a deserving and qualified person, with the right character that can achieve the desired goals and restore confidence and integrity to the organisation and its activities. “The world is very interested in who becomes the next President of FIFA, considering the present image and state of this institution and I see myself fitting into this role.” The 63-year-old, an Africa Cup of Nations winner with Nigeria in 1980, has already alerted Nigeria Football Federation of his intention, as stipulated by the electoral guidelines and FIFA Statutes, as well as the federal government, seeking their support. Odegbami, who scored 23 goals for Nigeria, faces an uphill task before he can mount the podium alongside UEFA supremo Michel Platini and South Korea’s billionaire businessman, Chung Mong-Joon, a former FIFA vice-president, in the race to succeed Blatter. The deadline for formal presentation of nominations through home football federations is October 26, 2015. The final candidates are then expected to undergo integrity tests, through FIFA’s ad-hoc election committee. The election is scheduled to be held in Zurich on February 26 next year.  

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This article was first published on 2nd September 2015


Arinze Ude is a PhD Student at the University of the West of England Bristol, UK, where he's exploring on the mechanisms of donor cell leukaemia. He shares his deep thoughts on his blog and the Naked Convos. He is keen to promote personal development of the Nigerian youth via thought-provoking articles.

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