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AFCON 2027 BID: fast track facility audit

Chairperson of the Bid Technical Committee Ashford Mamelodi has said there is a need to fast- track the authorization of the commencement of the facilities audit. According to Mamelodi, a timely audit will enable both nations to succeed in hosting 2027 AFCON. 

Former FIFA regional development officer – Mamelodi’s observation comes after technical committee announced last month that there was a need for both governments (Botswana and Namibia) to carry out a facility audit. For their bid project dubbed ‘BONA’, both countries will have to bring their A-game to convince CAF to award them the rights to host as they face formidable competition from Morocco and Senegal.

Furthermore, Mamelodi said the need for a facility audit came after they engaged and consulted with experts about the Bid’s implementation a week after the Bid Technical committee was established and a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed in June this year.  “Although both countries have agreed that it should start, the challenges have come about on account of getting the two countries to study and appreciate the cost implications,” he told WeekendSport.

The Bid technical committee chairperson further noted that, the facility audit was never part of the terms of reference from the initial stage when both nations announced their ambitious intention to bid for the continental showpiece. In addition, Mamelodi acknowledged that the recent changes at the Executive level at the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Services in Namibia have also contributed to the delay. He said the new principal needed to be fully appraised on the activities of BONA 2027.

He further indicated that, as the Bid technical committee from Botswana, they met with the leadership of the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture including the Permanent Secretary (PS) Kitso Kemoeng on separate meetings last week. He said they were assured that the the audit shall start soon.

Botswana has three facilities which need refurbishment to meet CAF standards, while a fourth stadium might need to be built. The committee has previously identified Maun as the fourth host town after Gaborone, Lobatse, and Francistown. Moreover the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium is currently the only facility that can host international matches, while the National Stadium and the Lobatse Sports Complex await the green light from CAF after failing previous tests.

On the other hand Namibia has no CAF-approved venue, with the national teams forced to play their home matches in South Africa. At the last press briefing, Vice chairperson of Bid Technical committee John Muinjo of Namibia said work begun to revamp the Independence Stadium, with the Sam Nujoma Stadium expected to be the other in line to host AFCON matches if the CAF bid is successful.

“We met with BFA NEC last week Saturday to bring them on board. We must not lose sight that our assignment is about football, and we are therefore expected to upraise the BFA as often as possible and seek their guidance on various matters,” said Mamelodi.

Meanwhile BFA CEO Mfolo Mfolo confirmed to this publication that they met with the Bid technical committee and the BFA NEC assured them of support.

Meanwhile Mamelodi said they are still in the dark as to when CAF will open the Bids and when they will share the requirements for hosting AFCON 2027.

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Finally, sponsors jerk BFA

30th January 2023

With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.

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Clubs petition Zackhem, Jagdish Shah

23rd January 2023

Some disgruntled Botswana Football League (BFL) shareholders are planning to petition the BFL board led by Gaborone United director and chief financier Nicolas Zackhem and his treasurer Jagdish Shah. Furthermore, they want to challenge the Botswana football Association (BFA) leadership over the deteriorating status of football in the country.

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P80 million windfall for BFA

9th January 2023

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is poised to benefit from FIFA’s forward development programme. The Association will receive over P80 million to be used during the course of the next four years, as the world football governing body is strengthens its commitment to building a stronger foundation and the growth of football.

The Forward 3.0 funds – to be accessed by all 54 CAF members for the next four years have seen an increase of USD 2 million compared to Forward 2.0 cycle and Forward 1.0 cycle when the programme was launched.

According to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the third cycle of the programme will be launched this month and it will dedicate more financial resources than before to developing football nations as there is an overall increase of approximately 30% compared to Forward 2.0.

“It is vital that we are now strengthening our commitment to building a stronger foundation for the growth of football,” Infantino noted.

The 62 page report by FIFA-Forward-Development-Programme-Forward-3-0-regulations also reveals that for travel and equipment, each member association, subject to compliance with the regulations, will receive an additional USD 1 million to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for their national teams. It further states that the remaining funds may be used to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for domestic competitions organized by the member associations.

“A contribution of up to USD 200,000 for the four-year cycle (2023-2026) to cover the cost of any football equipment related to the training of players and organization of matches (e.g. full kits for the national teams, balls, mini goals, bibs, substitution boards and referees’ communication systems) for those member associations that are identified as needing the most assistance,” the report indicated.

FIFA President, Infantino and his team said the member association is identified as needing the most assistance, for the purpose of the contributions, where their annual revenues (excluding Forward Programme funds as well as funds from any other FIFA programme/ initiative) do not exceed USD 4 million as the figure shall be reflected in the latest annual statutory audit report submitted to the FIFA general secretariat within six months after the closing of the relevant financial year.

Nevertheless, the contributions for travel will be released in four equal installments of USD 250,000 each in January every year, whilst those for equipment will be released in four equal installments of USD 50,000 each in January every year provided that the member association has fulfilled the conditions.

For the specific projects – in the case of Botswana and Namibia – there is an ambition to host the AFCON 2027 and if the joint bid succeed, the two nations will need to build new stadium to meet the requirements of CAF as the Bid technical committee has alluded before; therefore the two associations could make an appeal for extra funds to FIFA.

The report further says where a member association uses funds allocated for specific projects to improve or build new football infrastructure for its direct benefit or for the benefit of another entity (e.g. regional associations or clubs), the member association shall also provide, as part of the supporting documents, the FIFA general secretariat with the relevant national land registry certificate or extract confirming that the member association or the other entity is the owner of the land or the agreements confirming the donation, transfer or other form of provision to, or use of land by the association.

When contacted for comment, local sports analyst, Jimmy George said; “Ours is more a lack of vision, than money to finance programs. Regrettably when you lack vision not even USD 8 million can bail you out. Its pity the funds might be used to pay for the past projects that have yielded very little success.”

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