Former Blatter ally Leo Mugabe has defected
Exclusive by BBC Sport Online’s Steve Vickers
Sepp Blatter’s decision to leave out Zimbabwe on his whistle-stop tour of Southern Africa has received a lukewarm reaction in Harare.
The Fifa president is visiting eight nations in the region ahead of next month’s elections, where he is being challenged by Issa Hayatou.
Zimbabwe is the only country he is not visiting in the region.
But Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) chairman Leo Mugabe said he has had no recent communication from Blatter, a former close ally.
« It’s very clear that we support Issa Hayatou, so perhaps he feels it’s not worth coming here, » said Mugabe.
Last month Zimbabwe became one of the latest beneficiaries of Blatter’s Goal project, receiving $480,000 US which will be used for the development of junior football.
But when Hayatou’s bid for the top job in football then became official, Zifa switched their allegiance to the Caf president.
« I’m not against Blatter, it’s just that we made a decision to back Hayatou – we have to support the continent, » said Mugabe.
While Zimbabwe has a poor international image following last month’s flawed presidential elections, Mugabe feels that it has nothing to do with Blatter’s decision.
« He’s a friend of ours and I’m sure he’ll be in touch. It’s not a snub. »