'Mountain goat' Blatter keeps going and going

FIFA president Sepp Blatter gestures during a joint news conference with Ofer Eini (not pictured), chairman of the Israel Football Association, in Jerusalem May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

BERNE (Reuters) - Sepp Blatter, who is expected to be re-elected as FIFA president for a fifth term on Friday, likened himself to a Swiss mountain goat on Sunday, famed for their stubborn endurance.

Blatter will face a challenge for the presidency from Jordanian Prince Ali bin Al Hussein at the FIFA Congress on Friday after contenders Michael van Praag of the Netherlands and Luis Figo of Portugal pulled out of the contest on Thursday.

They collectively represented those who think Blatter should quit after so many years in the job, but Blatter told the NZZ newspaper in an interview: “I am a mountain goat that keeps going and going and going, I cannot be stopped, I just keep going.”

Blatter, who will be 80 next year, said in the interview that he “is a simple, devout man” and that the first thing he always does when he returns to his home town of Visp where he was born is to visit the family grave.

He said two weeks ago, he “connected” with his deceased mother, who bid him to join her.

He said, “I’m doing well, it is not time yet.”

Blatter was first elected FIFA president in 1998 and is expected to be re-elected by an overwhelming majority of FIFA’s 209 member associations when the secret ballot takes place at Zurich’s Hallenstadion.

Reporting by Brian Homewood; editing by Toby Davis