|A cosy lunch in Paraguay with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz and rival FIFA contender Mohamed Bin Hammam [AFP]
Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam has expressed his confidence ahead of the FIFA presidential elections on 1 June where he is hoping to unseat incumbent Sepp Blatter.
Bin Hammam was speaking at the congress of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) on Sunday as the campaign to become head of world football's governing body intensified.
"I started from zero and I believe that as of today I have the same chances as Blatter," said the Qatari.
"Now I am better known and each day I get more votes. It's all going well. I believe I can win more than 50 percent of the votes."
Bin Hammam is posing the first challenge to current world football head Sepp Blatter in nearly a decade.
"Let there be a competition, let there be a decision by the (FIFA) congress. Things are on the table, (let's) keep things dynamic and keep the congress always deciding where they are going to go," Bin Hammam told news agency Reuters.
"I think a new vision, a new opening, new blood, the competition in itself is what we are requiring, not change," added the 61-year-old.
Despite his confidence however, CONMEBOL, which has staunchly supported Blatter since he took office in 1998, confirmed on Friday that it would back him again, in a move that was warmly received by Blatter.
"I would like to thank you for the faith you have expressed in FIFA," said Blatter in his address to the congress.
"I am very happy and honoured with your decision and I accept it gladly ... to continue playing together on the same pitch."
CONMEBOL holds 10 of the 208 votes at the FIFA congress.
Blatter believes he has about 50 percent support from Africa and Asia and a majority in the rest of the world.
Bin Hammam says the issue is not settled.
"I have to (campaign), frankly speaking, and I've said this before, when we first decided to go ahead, we knew where we are strong and where we are weak, and so far I believe none of the decisions has been taken left or right," he said.
"I will not say where my strength is and where my weaknesses are going to be from but I believe that for the election I have time (to garner more support)."
In an interview with Al Jazeera in January, the Qatari said it was time to "inject fresh blood" in FIFA and criticised Blatter's handling of speculation that the Qatar 2022 World Cup could be held in winter.
"Maybe now we got tired of always defending same opinions, same ideas, same things, so maybe we've reached the stage that our president, who is supposed to defend our organisation, is defenceless - he cannot anymore do it," he said.
In his bid to become only the fourth FIFA president in half a century, he said he would support goal line technology if elected to the post. He also promised more transparency in the in the confederation's decision-making.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies