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Indian origin in fray for top football post

india Updated: Dec 01, 2006 19:17 IST

A former Indian origin player of the Seychelles football team is among three candidates in the fray for the post of president of the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA).


Patel, re-elected as chairman of the Seychelles Football Federation Wednesday, a post he has held since 1994, will face 1988 African Footballer of the Year and Zambian legend Kalusha Bwalya and Namibia High Court judge Petrus Damaseb in Saturday's election for the post of COSAFA president.

The election is being held after Botswana's Ismail Bhamjee stepped down from the post after being involved in a World Cup 2006 ticket sale scandal.

Patel, 54, a former Seychellois goalkeeper, has also served in the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). He was also a member of the organising committee of FIFA world under-17 championships.

Patel got a shot in the arm for his race to the COSAFA presidency with South Africa expressing its support for him.

"I have trust and faith in that man (Patel)," South Africa Football Association president Molefi Oliphant told the News 24 website.

"I sat with him on the CAF executive committee while he was the chairperson of the finance committee of CAF.

"COSAFA has to be strong and progress so we support the individual who we believe will push the region to a higher level," Oliphant was quoted as saying.

Zambia's Bwalya has also expressed confidence of winning the election.

Now a businessman and TV analyst, Bwalya told BBC Sport: "With 25 years of playing the game which transcends across the globe, I have ensured all the stakeholders understand where I am coming from and what I am bringing."

COSAFA is a powerful football body comprising countries in the southern Africa region.

Its 13 members are Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique Namibia, South Africa, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.