Botswana Football Association (BFA) is eager to host the next edition of Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) where the government of Botswana is expected to play a pivotal role at a time when the organizing committee dreaming to host prepares to hand their hefty book to Confederation of African Football (CAF) when bidding stage comes into the open.
BFA has to-date managed to win the confidence of the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) and all thoughts around the African football prestigious tournament are given serious attention with acceleration of construction of 1o mini stadia across the country.
The stadiums are expected to be built in Bobonong, Tonota, Moshupa, Kanye, Rakops, Goodhope, Tutume and Chobe. Each stadium is expected to cost over P5 million.However, sources say some of the villages might be bypassed, but reasons are not forth-coming.
BFA President who also sits on the CAF National Executive Committee is expected to embody a more emotive promise about the possibility of the African cup tournament in Botswana and how it can benefit the citizenry and by extension, the Southern region.
With Zimbabwe having come out clean about their intentions to bid for 2034 World Cup, there is a growing feeling that Botswana should try her luck as well. The Botswana delegation is hopeful that they will strike a fine balance between the two tournaments.
Although, the commercial potential of a Botswana AFCON cup is a compelling factor in their favour following the relatively uncertainty of many African countries (due to political instability, extent of corona virus) and state of insecurity, BFA is minded not to make that the thrust of the case.
Hence the concentration on providing a home from home for all teams among Botswana’s diverse population and the opportunity to use the proceeds to advance legacy projects around Africa. The feeling on the ground is that the move might be bold, but some association influential players believe that it will be a matter of upgrading the stadiums in Maun, Masunga and Serowe.
Another idea harboured is that a stadium will be built in or around Gaborone to boost the National Stadium. The Lobatse and Francistown stadia are also expected to play a role in hosting.
All the while, a 20 million Pula operational budget is said to be needed to travel African countries in hopes of convincing them that Botswana is more suitable to host the tournaments looking at its security and economy stability.
Vice President Marshlow Motlogelwa says this remains an ‘infant thought’ but BFA is considering engaging more stakeholders to stand up for the bid. However, the association is rubbing its hands in glee after successfully managing to convince the football governing body (FIFA) to build a state of the art stadium.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced plans to raise $1bn dollars to build at least one stadium meeting FIFA standards in each African country. He insisted that FIFA wants African football to shine and will work with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and other stakeholders to improve refereeing, infrastructure and competitions on the continent.
“We want to bring it (Africa) to the highest of heights and show the world the outstanding talent and amazingly gifted players your continent possesses,” said Infantino.
“To do this, we want to implement a three pillar approach: refereeing, infrastructure and competitions, in close cooperation with CAF, all of its 54 member associations across Africa and other stakeholders. I am positive that we will make African football reach the top level where it should be because quality and potential are definitely here,” he concluded.
This publication is reliably informed that the first stadium is to be built in Botswana.Botswana passes the mark when it comes to transportation, accommodation and hotel facilities. The fact that CAF would want a country that has hosted youth tournaments before enables Botswana to score points in that it has hosted youth games.
BFA will consider roping in an experienced sports person and the high profile of former players like Diphetogo Selolwane are anticipated to appear for the thoughts building around the bid. Selolwane’s name will be seen as a watershed moment.
The southern region however might be dealt a devastating blow following the catastrophe that hit Angola when they hosted the 2010 edition. The Togo team was shot by rebels and panic erupted. Moreover, the field is open and the ever shifting sands of CAF internal politics make the race hard to call and feed fears of horse trading and backroom deals.
South Africa is far ahead when compared to Botswana (whose bid was rejected in 2013), Zimbabwe and Zambia are not far off the mark, but the ball remains with the association to convince the government about the intent.
Gaborone United was this week crowned 2021/2022 Botswana Premier League (BPL) champions following their 1-0 win over the holders, Jwaneng Galaxy. Thero Setsile’s 13th minute’s goal was enough to seal the league championship, ending 13 years of drought from the Old Naledi outfit.
With two games to go before the top-flight season wraps up, Gaborone United opened a seven points gap to second placed Township Rollers having accumulated 63 points from twenty eight games. The Money machine were the first team to open a new chapter in the history books of Botswana football, when they were crowned the inaugural 2008/09 be Mobile Premiership champions, that came up with P1 million as prize money. Thereafter the club has been on the league drought as it could only manage winning Coca Cola FA Cup in 2012, Mascom top 8 twice in 2013 and 2015. They also won the Orange FA cup last season.
The return of Zackhem as the club financier signaled a new era with a number of galactic signings for the 2021/2022 season. The team brought into their fold big names in local football; Kekaetswe Moloi, Lesego Galenamotlhale and Joel Mogorosi. The arrival of enterprising left wing back Mothusi Johnson, dribbling wizard Mpho Kgaswane and hard tackling midfielder, Lebogang Ditsele made the job easier for the coaches.
Attacker Onkabetse Makgantai also joined the marauding attackers in Thatayaone Kgamanyane and Thero Setsile to make their front line combination the deadliest in the league. Both Kgamanyane and Setsile have netted 34 goals this season with the goal minder Goitseone Phoko keeping 20 clean sheets thus far while conceding just 10 goals. GU is still on the Orange FA Cup race and football commentators believe that they are the favorites looking at the quality of their squad.
As it stands should the Money Machine win all their remaining games, they stand a chance to equal the highest championship winning points record of 76 points which set by Mochudi Center chiefs during the 2007-2008 football season. That record stood for 14 years and Gaborone United could equal that feat should they win their remaining games against Sua Flamingos and struggling Notwane. The Money Machine made the bold statement begging of the 2021/2020 football season when they won 11 games straight games without even conceding a goal.
The Reds, who are under the guidance of Innocent Morapedi, a seasoned coach and his assistant Pontsho Moloi, has been consistent in the title race. In the process, the Old Naledi side has scored 59 goals while conceding the least goals (10 goals) and has a superior goal difference of 49 goals. Gaborone United success breaks Township Rollers and Mochudi Center Chiefs dominance as the only teams to have won the league title more than any other club in the last 13 seasons. GU’s proximity to money and talent were key this season.
Domestically since GU last won the league title, Mochudi Center Chiefs have won it three times; whilst the most decorated football club with 16 titles, Rollers has been dominating the league, winning five titles on the spin in five seasons from 2013-14 to 2018-19. Last season, Jwaneng Galaxy was crowned champions for the very first time due to being at the top of the table when the novel coronavirus pandemic forced the season to be prematurely halted with ten games to play.
After two years of no action across various sports codes including softball, Botswana Softball Association (BSA) is going back to the grounds to resuscitate the sport.
This weekend all roads lead to Selibe Phikwe for the top eight ladies championship. The eight ladies teams comprise the top four ladies teams from the south and north regions. They will then come together and form eight teams and battle it out this weekend at the Phikwe Softball Grounds and Area 2 Mowana Ball Park. The competing ladies teams are Titans, Police, Vikings, UB Giants, Rail giants, Scramblers, Carats and Ghetto Yankees. The champions will be crowned thereafter.
Softball Association Public relations officer, Boingotlo Marope explained that this tournament is not only for ladies, she said men’s championship will be held at Gaborone on the 28th May 2022. She said they have noticed that everything is confined to Gaborone as their headquarters in the southern region. As a result they have decided to take other activities to the northern region as well. “We are trying to grow softball, we don’t want everything to surround Gaborone only which is why the ladies tournament will be held at Selebi Phikwe in the northern region to bring equality.”
However, she explained that the reason they were missing in action is because of Covid 19. “We saw government cautionary trying to protect everyone by putting certain restrictions as spots had to stop for 12 months, we welcomed 12 months to protect Batswana. As a results that lead to the closure as there were no games”.
In addition Marope said they currently don’t have sponsors however private sector has always come through. Bofinet has to cut the sponsorship but that is not due to Covid 19 crisis. “Bofinet has showed commitment, they promised that as soon as they are settled they will come to our door knocking again,” she added.
Marope further said as a results they rely on their tight budget. Few of players has been sponsored, some has to dig from their own pockets, some parents cannot sent their children as some had to quit. “We have worked with our tight budget to assist teams and hoping that in the coming season we can have somebody to assist”.
The Botswana national boxing team recently returned from the zone 4 championship held in Mozambique. The team was led by head coach Thebe Setlalekgosi, two assistant coaches, Gibson Rauwe and Pearl Mooketsi. Two referees and judges, Gaseitsewe Ponatshego and Linda Mooketsi.
In the women’s category, Lethabo Modukanele was representing Botswana in the 48 kg division, while Phekie Bele and Sadie Kenosi were competing in the 57 kg and 60 kg categories, respectively. In the men’s category, Kobamelo Molatlhegi was representing the country in the 52 kg division, while Rajab Mahomed was competing in the under 51 kg category.George Molwantwa was competing for under 57 kg category and Treasure Moremi was competing for under 60kg category.
The boxers came home with seven medals, Modukanele came home with a gold medal, Kenosi, Rajab, Molatlhegi all came home with silver medals. While Moremi, Molwantwa and Phekie Bele all came home with bronze medals.
According to Moitshepi Nkabiti, the public relations officer of the Botswana Boxing Association, the team performed well and that they were hoping that Rajab would also bring home a gold medal. However, due to an eye injury, he could not participate in the finals.
He stated that, “though some people might think that how our team performed is not an achievement it is a big achievement to us. Other countries came with 19 boxers while we only came with our seven boxers, and they all came back with medals. That is something that we have to be proud of I really commend them for their performance. Having 5 players making it to the finals is really a blessing and we should not take it for granted.”
According to Nkabiti, Botswana was ranked fourth in the zone 4 championship, which was held in Mozambique. Other countries that participated in the tournament included South Africa, Zambia, Eswatini, and Seychelles. They all had a total of 19 boxers. Lesotho also had eight boxers.