Tokyo Sexwale withdraws from FIFA election in spectacular fashion

1:11 | Planet Futbol
Gianni Infantino elected new FIFA president
Friday February 26th, 2016

Tokyo Sexwale, the 62-year-old South African businessman, withdrew from the FIFA presidential election at the extraordinary congress in Zurich, and he did so in entertaining and spectacular fashion. 

After turning to his fellow colleagues and saying "it's your problem now," Sexwale said farewell to the race, taking the full 15-minute speaking allotment to close the pre-vote speeches.

Sexwale was a longshot at the start of the race, and he knew it going into Friday's vote. Even so, he said he never considered withdrawing prior to Friday when anyone would ask him, saying "I am a soldier. I die with my boots on," before promptly cracking a joke about withdrawing money from bank accounts.

Here are some of the other highlights and revelations in his speech (and for more from Sexwale, including how to pronounce his name, listen to his podcast interview with SI's Grant Wahl):

Party time

Sexwale mentioned that no matter which candidate won, it would be a party. Then he flashed a huge smile and said, "Of course, if it were me, it would be a greater party."

His Best XI

Leave it to Sexwale to present his campaign platform in a 4-4-2 formation:

He had a son three days ago

He's 62! Congratulations.

Gender equality

After announcing the surprise suspension of his campaign, he said, "One day I hope a president will be a woman. I believe in unity [applause]. I believe in unity the Mandela way."

Taking every second

Every candidate got 15 minutes, and while Prince Ali, Sheikh Salman, Jerome Champagne and Gianni Infantino each left time on the clock, that's just not Tokyo's style. "I'm going to speak right until it is 0:00. Football is about the end," he said. "Maybe I'll get an optional time from the referee? I don't know."

When he wrapped up with 20 seconds to go, he looked at the clock counting down, paused as the audience laughed, and took his final seconds to thank all in the room.

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