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By Simon Evans
ZURICH, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Former Trinidad and Tobago international midfielder David Nakhid is the latest to say he will stand in February’s election to replace the outgoing Sepp Blatter as president of FIFA.
Nakhid, who is based in Lebanon where he runs a football academy, has returned to the Caribbean seeking support from local officials.
In order to be a candidate, the 51-year-old Nakhid would need the backing of five national associations -- a requirement which has kept other outsiders off the ballot in previous elections.
“I have put my hat in the ring and we are looking forward to the challenge,” he told Reuters on Wednesday, adding that he was “optimistic” of getting the five nominations.
Nakhid said he had met with Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president Gordon Derrick in Antigua and had been invited to speak to the CFU’s executive committee on Saturday.
Derrick confirmed to Reuters that Nakhid would be given an audience.
The CFU has 25 of the 35 votes from the CONCACAF confederation which also covers North and Central America as well as the Caribbean.
“FIFA’s focus must be on development accompanied by proper oversight,” said Nakhid, who has been strongly critical of Trindid’s former FIFA vice-president and ex-CONCACAF president Jack Warner.
“This region has been under-developed due to the inept leadership that came from this part of the world. Jack Warner never really represented this region,” he said.
So far UEFA president Michel Platini, ex-FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon of South Korea, former Brazil great Zico and Liberian FA chairman Musa Bility have said they are running in the election.
Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein, beaten by Blatter in May’s election, is considering another run while South African Tokyo Sexwale has also said he is weighing up whether to stand.
Nakhid has one strong connection to Zurich. He played for the city’s club Grasshoppers in the early 1990s and also played in Major League Soccer for the New England Revolution.
Reporting By Simon Evans, Editing by Ian Chadband