The Bahraini royal appointed as Asia’s new football boss has taken time out to ponder another succession – at his beloved Manchester United.
Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, just days after taking over as head of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), hailed retiring manager Alex Ferguson and expressed hope for his replacement, David Moyes.
“Being a Manchester United fan, I have closely followed their path to glory and it was because of Sir Alex’s untiring efforts that the club won 13 league crowns, five FA Cups, four League Cups and two Uefa Champions Leagues,” he said, in a statement emailed to AFP.
“He discovered players and polished them into gems and his relentless quest for glory made him the most successful coach the game has ever seen. It will be difficult to imagine watching a Manchester United game without Sir Alex on the bench.”
Last week, Sheikh Salman shrugged off allegations of links to human rights abuses and claims of vote-buying to become AFC president, when he replaced Mohamed bin Hammam who stepped down after accusations of bribery and financial scams in office.
Events at Old Trafford were less controversial, with Ferguson abruptly announcing the end of his more than 26-year reign on Wednesday and Moyes named as his successor on Thursday.
“I hope the new coach will take a leaf out of Sir Alex’s book and continue the tradition of bringing silverware to Old Trafford,” said the sheikh, who has been at work this week at AFC House in Kuala Lumpur.