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Bhamjee to Visit

By Kuvee Kangueehi WINDHOEK Disgraced former FIFA Executive member Ismael Bhamjee, who is also the president of Cosafa, is expected in the country over the weekend. Bhamjee will be officiating at the mini Cosafa tournament that will start on Saturday at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Katutura. Namibia Football Association (NFA) official Barry Rukoro confirmed to New Era yesterday that Bhamjee would be coming over the weekend. Bhamjee was at the centre of a scandal in Germany last month after he, a member of FIFA's executive committee, was caught out in a sting by a British Sunday newspaper. He was ordered by FIFA to resign from all World Cup-related duties and leave Germany as soon as possible. The incident, which shocked the entire football fraternity, also disappointed FIFA's president Sepp Blatter who said: "I am very disappointed about the conduct of a member of the FIFA Executive Committee. In such a situation, FIFA acts immediately and firmly." Bhamjee, from Botswana in southern Africa, confirmed in a written statement that he had sold the tickets for the England v Trinidad match for triple their face value. However, NFA official Rukoro said the Namibian football fraternity should embrace and not pass judgment before the Cosafa president has given his side of the story. Bhamjee has been quiet on the issue since he returned from Germany and the Cosafa executive has not met yet to express themselves on the matter. Rukoro said Namibia owes a lot of gratitude to Bhamjee as he was very instrumental in getting the NFA to be accepted as a member of the FIFA family. "There were a lot of things that were not in place after independence and ... Bhamjee worked hard and he made a lot of sacrifices to ensure the NFA became a member of FIFA." Rukoro added that Bhamjee also played a big role in the construction of Soccer House. Bhamjee faces an uncertain future and might be kicked off the executive committee altogether as he was due to be replaced in January any way after losing the support of African countries. Bhamjee is understood to have voted for Morocco ahead of Botswana's neighbours South Africa as the hosts of the 2010 World Cup, and also mounted an unsuccessful campaign to replace Issa Hayatou as president of the African confederation. A long-standing member of FIFA's executive committee, he started out running a hardware store in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, before becoming a leading light in the country's football association. From there, he was voted on to FIFA. Bhamjee signed a declaration saying: "I, Ismail Bhamjee, member of the FIFA executive committee, hereby confirm the fact that I have sold 12 category one tickets of the 2006 FIFA World Cup match England v Trinidad & Tobago, played on 15 June in Nuremberg, for 300 euro (ÃÆ'Æ'ÀÃ...ÃÆ''šÃ‚£230) each, i.e. 200 euro (ÃÆ'Æ'ÀÃ...ÃÆ''šÃ‚£153) above face value for each ticket. "I deeply regret this incorrect act and apologise to FIFA for violating the relevant terms and conditions governing the sale of tickets for the 2006 FIFA World Cup." FIFA called a meeting of their emergency committee after being presented with evidence by The Mail on Sunday. The organisation said in a statement: "As an immediate reaction to this behaviour, FIFA's emergency committee under the chairmanship of president Joseph S. Blatter decided that Mr Bhamjee had to immediately resign from all FIFA World Cup-related duties and leave Germany at the earliest possible moment."
2006-07-20 00:00:00 12 years ago
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