Last month, when Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim launched his campaign, the Bahraini faced questions about his alliance with Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad, the president of the Olympic Council of Asia.
"I'll be my own man and I've got two years to prove that," Sheikh Salman said. "I can say of the others that they are puppets of other regimes or other countries. Would that be right? I don't think so."
Sheikh Salman has promised a "wind of change" if he is voted to Asian football's top seat and bring together the diverse groups of the continent. "Asia United" is a campaign slogan.
"It's time we were united and acted with one voice," he said. "As a continent we are simply not going to make the progress we need to if the sport which we all love cannot thrive. We have to reunite across Asia, recognise that while we have our differences, we are of one voice in terms of our love for the game, our desire to get to grips with the problems we've experienced and, frankly, our need to ensure its future."
That message seems to be resonating across the continent. "I believe that I can unite the continent and introduce long-overdue changes to how we administer and manage our game," he said. "I will unite Asia from all sides and people are supporting me on this basis."
The plagues of match fixing and doping also are on his agenda. "There is a widespread recognition across the continent of Asia that we have to change," he said in an interview last month.
"The last few years have been incredibly damaging for our sport. Our relationship with Fifa has suffered, perceptions of our sport have been set back and our reputation has been sullied. All this must change."
Name Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim
Among official positions held
General secretary of Bahrain's Supreme Council for Youth & Sports (2010-present)
Vice president, Bahrain Olympic Committee (2009-present)
President, Bahrain Football Association (2002-present)
Chairman of National Team Committee, Bahrain Football Association (1996 - 1997)
Chairman of disciplinary committee, Asian Football Confederation (2003-2009)
Deputy chairman of disciplinary committee, Fifa (2003-2009)
Reunite the Asian football community
Safeguard the universality of the Laws of the Game
Re-establish the relationship between Fifa and the AFC
Ensure full financial transparency
Guarantee equality in the fair distribution of AFC commercial revenues
Improve the level of all AFC competitions
Introduce technology at AFC competitions
Reinforce the financial support available for both refereeing and coaching courses
Ensure women's football receives the support it deserves
At the ballots
Lost to Mohamed bin Hammam in the 2009 election; remains a strong contender with support across the four zones and from the OCA.