Prince Ali at his manifesto launch in London in February (WFI)

(WFI) As Sepp Blatter turned 79, Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein’s bid to oust the FIFA president gained further momentum after Bahrain and Brunei announced their support for the Jordanian.

Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa met Prince Ali in Manama on Monday. According to Jordan’s Petra News Agency, he confirmed Bahrain’s support for the Jordanian FA chief’s quest to unseat Blatter.

Al Khalifa’s support is significant because the Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa is Bahraini and a Blatter loyalist. Salman and Ali were involved in a bitter dispute last year concerning the merging of the AFC presidency with the FIFA vice presidential seat for the region.

Prince Ali also met with the Sultan of Brunei’s brother Prince Sufri Bolkiah on Monday. He reportedly also underlined his nation’s backing for the outgoing FIFA vice president’s ambition to head world football’s governing body.

Prince Sufri claimed Prince Ali has the right credentials and experience that qualify him for the top job in world football, according to Petra.

At his manifesto launch in London last month, the 39-year-old Jordanian revealed that he received the five nominations required to become a name on the ballot sheet on May 29.

The football federations of England, Malta, Georgia, Belarus and the USA as well as Jordan are already behind his campaign.

Now Bahrain and Brunei are on board, Prince Ali appears to be making some headway on whirlwind global travels aimed at securing support for his FIFA presidential election campaign.

But chipping away at the Swiss incumbent’s stronghold of support across Asia, Africa and the CONCACAF region will prove much more of a challenge.

Blatter, who became 79 today, has yet to launch his manifesto as he attempts to extend his FIFA reign to 2019.

At the CONMEBOL Congress last week, Blatter failed to gain the unanimous support of delegates for his bid for a fifth term.

The UEFA Congress in Vienna on March 23 is the next major stop on the campaign trail for the four candidates, who also include Dutch FA president Michael van Praag and former Portuguese star Luis Figo.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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