It’s on: Botswana, Namibia AFCON bid
The colossal dream to host the African Cup of Nations in the year of 2027 by the government of Botswana and Namibia is gaining traction as both countries have expressed optimism about an ambitious but critical project.
Minister of Youth, Gender, Sport & Culture Tumiso Rakgare together with his counterpart from Namibia, Agnes Tjongarero were enthusiastic citing that if the two countries win a bid to co-host African Cup of Nations (AFCON) it could boost infrastructure development as well as tourism amongst two countries.
The ministers revealed this during a historic signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the two nations which we will see both countries hosting the continental showpiece AFCON dubbed ‘BONA 2027’, should the bid succeed.
If successful, Botswana – Namibia joint bid will make them the third countries within the SADC region to host the tournament. Only South Africa and Angola have hosted the tournament so far among SADC nations.
It has been reported that more than P100 million will be needed to stage a successful tournament. There are other bidders though, Botswana-Namibia bid will face stiff competition from other African countries such as Morocco, Senegal, Algeria and Burkina Faso.
The four countries will submit on their own while Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia will also present a three-way joint bid. The announcement for the host country is expected to be made at the 44th ordinary CAF assembly to be held in Cairo, Egypt later this year.
Speaking at the signing of MoA, Minister Rakgare said if the 2027 Afcon bid succeed, it will help facilitate rapid sports infrastructure such as stadia, training facilities, general infrastructure development such as roads, hospitality and create employment through sports, hospitality and tourism.
“Bidding to host is a dream which if materialized would see a lot of appetite from both governments to deepen soccer development for the benefits of hosting Afcon is immense. Youths continue to idle in the streets with numerous skills and qualifications without jobs. This opportunity would help arrest this volatile unemployment situation,” said Rakgare.
He further revealed that both Botswana and Namibia present a compelling case to CAF to look at their proposition to host as a totally refreshing case. “Our dream is centred on a developmental ambition more than a mere 90-minute spectacle. It must be the footballers and its ancillary stakeholders who benefit from the Afcon. But the legacy must be unquestionable,” he alluded.
For her part, Tjongarero, who is minister of Sport, Youth and National Services in Namibia said the MoA will facilitate among others, production of the bid document for submission to CAF in line with the set timelines.
She also noted that part of MoA is to lobby for support from various international structures as well as development of a robust and appealing strategy that will secure the involvement of the private sector and other key stakeholders at the bid stage of the project in order to compliment the resource contributions of the two Governments.
In addition, Tjongarero revealed that the two governments have agreed to collaborate on a 60:40 resource sharing principle. “Botswana will contribute 60% of the resources needed for the project, and Namibia will contribute 40%. The same principle shall apply in sharing of proceeds and benefits of hosting AFCON 2027,” she indicated.
She revealed that if both countries manage to secure the rights to host the AFCON Finals, Namibia will host the Opening Ceremony and Botswana will host the Closing Ceremony and both the third place playoff and Final match.
Botswana will host 24 of the 36 group stage matches, whilst Namibia will host 12. Botswana will host 5 of the 8 round of 16 matches, whilst Namibia hosts 3matches. The quarter finals and the semi-finals will be shared equally between the two countries.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) President MacLean Letshwiti said the bid process is going to be very intense and competitive. He said part of requirements compel both countries in terms of budgeting, planning and coordination as well as resources and expertise should be put in place.
“This project is a mammoth task that Botswana and Namibia have voluntarily set themselves. The expectations of CAF are that the bidding countries, governments should seriously commit to underwriting the huge cost of this undertaking, including budgets for the bidding process, infrastructure and the actual hosting of the event,” said the BFA President.
Meanwhile the Bid Technical Committee led by long serving and popular FIFA regional Development officer Ashford Mamelodi in his capacity as the chairperson assisted by John Muinjo of Namibia was also announced at the briefing.
Other committee members are Phazha Butale, Segolame Ramotlhwa, Irvine Ndjavera, Imon Bogosi, Tuelo Serufho, Timothy Tjongarero, Mfolo Mfolo, Jacqueline Gertze Tovey Hoebeb and Rogerdeltry Kambatuku.
Big Guns for Botswana Grand Prix
The National Stadium will be lit up with fireworks on April 29, 2023, as some of the best international athletes will participate in the maiden Botswana Grand prix.
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AFRICAâ€™S RECOVERY: Sports as game changer
The year 2022 witnessed unprecedented phenomena. Several Africans- Gotytom Gebreslase, Sharon Lokedi, Victor Kiplangat, Tamarit Tola and many others- swept the Worldâ€™s marathons records.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting control measures implemented in several countries, led to many high-level sports competitions being cancelled or shelved, the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games was moved to 2026.
Founder and Executive Chairman, African Sports and Creative Institute, Will Mabiakop, says the inability to hold traditional and amateur sports events have had a serious effect on public health overall, including mental health, sparking a revolution whereby athletes began to talk more openly about stress, mental overload and performance anxiety.
â€śAfrica is home to the fastest growing economies before the crisis, no longer on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). COVID-19 deepened interdependence between SDGs, making them harder to achieve, especially SDG 10 (reducing inequality) and SDG 5 (gender equality_ as the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on poorer countries, and heavier burdens (such as care work) fell to women.â€ť
Mabiakop stresses that as policymakers contemplate actions to speed up recovery and build resilience, they must argue that sports and creative businesses should play a central feature in this effort.
â€śThe sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africaâ€™s sports and creative industries can offer policymakers innovative solutions. Especially, as regards job creation, and providing employment to the 15 million people entering the job market annually.â€ť
HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY DO THIS?
By leveraging the two-for-one concept: past studies shown that a 1% growth in the economy delivers a 2% job increment in this sector (these ratios are calculated using data from 48 African countries and adjusted to the reality of the sports economy in Africa by the authors). There are between 30 and 50 job types, in sports and creative industries, respectively. These jobs do not fade away with the first major shock.
Mabiakop indicated that policymakers can use these industries to tackle multiple crises- jobs, poverty, and climate risks. Sports diplomacy- defined as communication, representation and negotiation in or through the prism of sports- has proven effective in building inclusive and cohesive societies. Moreover, sports and the creative industry can support better mental health and well-being, both important for productivity.
â€śPolicymakers can also be true to the game by leveraging culture and tradition to celebrate identity and reap commercial value in sports, textiles and jewelry. Creative sectors allow deeper connection with culture, are not easily copied and provide great economic potential.â€ť
He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. â€śFortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.â€ť
However, Mabiakop held that potential pitfalls must be highlighted. â€śFirst avoid build it and they will come policies with infrastructures denuded from the rest of the ecosystem. Like the many sports stadiums left largely unused.â€ť
â€śPolicymakers must remain mindful of how these sectors move the needle in human capital development. Also, align the requisite public policies needed for progress from grassroots participation to professional sports, and even to international sporting events. They should also support investment instruments to render these sectors performant.â€ť
BFA to pay Taylor P330 000
Botswana Football Association (BFA) has been ordered to pay its former Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Goabaone Taylor over P330 000 as a compensation for her unfair dismissal last year February.
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