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BFA, Gov’t ponder on AFCON bid

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.

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