It’s no longer a secret that Botswana has thrown her name (with six other countries) for consideration to host AFCON 2027. CAF has received four bids from six countries. Botswana is going solo following neighbor, Namibia’s last minute decision to withdraw from the joint bid dubbed BONA 2027.
The long wait for the Afcon 2027 host committee and the government to provide an update on the project has been one of the longest in the country’s history. Many people were uncertain if the event would be a political gimmick or if it would actually happen.
During an interview with reporters at the BNSC warm up area this week, Tumiso Rakgare, the minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture, said that due to the various factors that affected the project, the government decided to engage a South African consultant, Ruben Reddy Architects, to produce the bid document.
According to Rakgare, the consultants appointed by the government for the facility audit report recently at the tune of P2, 227, 000. 00 have a lot of experience in producing winning bids. They have also produced documents for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Commonwealth Games, and the Russia 2018 World Cup. He is confident that they will be able to produce a competitive bid document.
According to the sports minster, Ruben Reddy Architects has quoted a whopping P65, 656, 355.00 to develop the bid-document. Furthermore he said based on the 60:40 principle agreed between Namibia and Botswana before ditching the joint-bid, Botswana was to pay a sum of P39, 393, 813,00 whereas the Namibia were to fork out P26, 262, 542.00 from their coffers.
Now because, the neighbours Namibia have withdrawn from the joint-bid, the government will pay the entire P65, 656,355.00 just for the bid-document which is being developed by the consultants.
Moreover, the Bid-Technical chairperson Ashford Mamelodi indicated that the contracts between both parties were signed on the 1st of May 2023 in Johannesburg, South Africa and the Bid consultants are expected to deliver the comprehensive bid-document on the 22nd May, where the President of Botswana will have an opportunity to appreciate it before it can depart for Cairo, Egypt where CAF offices are located the same day.
CAF has since set 23 May 2023 as the deadline for member associations to submit their final bid documents, including all bidding and hosting documents (hosting agreement, host cities agreement, government guarantees) which should be duly signed.
Rakgare noted that the facility audit report submitted by Namibia and Botswana before they withdrew from the joint-bid suggested that they needed over P4.6 billion to construct two new stadiums and renovate the three existing ones. As per the requirements of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), they should have at least six stadiums to host the event.
P20 Billion Transitional development budget to refocus to AFCON 2027
Rakgare revealed that the two-year Transitional National Development Plan has a development budget of over 20 billion Pula which can be refocused to infrastructure development connected to the 2027 AFCON.
“Then again, we would still have the whole of the 2025/2026 financial year and part of the 2026/2027 financial year to finance the deficit, noting that a sizeable part of the funds required for development of infrastructure will also come from the private sector,” he shared with the media this week.
Rakgare also noted that the government is currently engaged in talks with the Ministry of Finance to determine the various areas of the budget that can be reprioritised to accommodate the hosting of the event. He said if the country successfully hosts the event, it will immediately start implementing other infrastructure projects that the country needs.
Benefits from hosting the tournament will huge – Rakgare
The Sports minister said learning from past hosts of AFCON, they estimate that more than 10, 000 jobs will be created over a minimum of 2 years from the capital works that would have to be undertaken such as the construction of stadiums. It is estimated that the stadiums will cost around U$D 67.5 million which is equivalent to P500 million and over 2000 people are expected to be employed.
The minister said the report by the African Development Bank (ADB), for the 2013 AFCON hosted by South Africa indicate that the event generated an estimated $1.1 billion in economic benefits for that country which included revenue from tourism, transport, accommodation and hospitality services. He is of the view that the rewards will be huge for Botswana despite the huge costs of hosting it. He said the economy will receive a huge boost, stimulating not just construction but many other sectors such as tourism, trade and manufacturing.
Morocco confident to win the bid for 2025 AFCON showpiece
The 2022 FIFA World Cup semi-finalists Morocco are leading the race to replace Guinea as hosts of the 2025 AFCON as CAF officials feel Morocco is the most suitable candidate for the coveted competition, having hosted successful global and continental tournaments in the recent past.
Therefore, Botswana stands a good chance against the three East African neighbours (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) which submitted a joint expression of interest. On the other hand the bids from Egypt and Algeria will suffer a huge blow as CAF has clearly stated that no region will host the tournament for two consecutive editions.
Against the aforementioned, Rakgare said, “we stand good a chance as of any of the other bidders, if not a better chance because our credentials speak for us; a safe and democratic country, a vibrant economy and one with a great history of successfully hosting international sport events.”
Meanwhile many observers believe that hosting the Afcon 2027 is an expensive exercise “unless it being used a political gimmick” as the country is going to the polls next year. As of today (Saturday) it is only 17 days before the deadline; and the inspection by CAF officials is expected to start on the 1st of June to 15th June, with selection of the tournament’s host country expected before September.
The African Cup of Nations (AFCON) is renowned for its intense and thrilling matches that captivate millions of football lovers worldwide. So far, football fans have been treated to enormous upsets, eleventh-hour heroics, a plethora of goals, and innumerable twists reminiscent of a Hollywood screenplay deemed too extravagant – the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) appears to encompass everything. The tournament’s standout stars were largely overshadowed by lesser-known figures who appeared intent on perpetuating surprises.
Traditionally, AFCON has been ruled by Africa’s top-tier teams like Egypt, Cameroon, and Senegal, among others. However, this year’s edition has proven to be a conundrum for the continent’s elite nations as they grappled with underdogs in both the group stages and the round of 16.
Furthermore, the 2023 AFCON group stage unfolded as a rollercoaster of emotions, featuring unforeseen upsets, dramatic last-minute heroics, and a deluge of goals that left football aficionados on the edge of their seats.
BIG 5 Eliminated
Arguably the most stunning upset of the tournament unfolded when the Brave Warriors of Namibia, ranked 115th globally, triumphed over Tunisia with a solitary goal during the group stages. However, their exultation was short-lived as they suffered a resounding 4-0 defeat at the hands of South Africa, marking the most significant setback of their campaign.
Despite their earlier triumph and a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Mali, Namibia’s journey came to an abrupt end as they were soundly defeated 3-0 by Angola, leading to their exit from the tournament.
Another major exit was that of the Pharaohs of Egypt, who were eliminated by DR Congo in a nail-biting penalty shoot-out (8-7) following a 1-1 draw after extra time. Additionally, former champions Ghana, Algeria, and Tunisia all failed to advance to the round of 16, while Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde, and Angola topped their respective groups.
For the second consecutive tournament, Algeria, a two-time champion, suffered an early exit in the group stages, as minnows Mauritania secured a historic first-ever victory at the finals, securing a spot in the last 16 at their expense. Another powerhouse, Ghana, also fell short of reaching the knockout stage, as the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon rallied from behind to defeat Gambia, dashing the Black Stars’ hopes of qualifying as one of the best third-placed teams with just two points.
6 coaches FIRED!
Six coaches have already been ousted from their positions, as the Black Stars of Ghana swiftly dismissed Chris Hughton following their elimination, sparking a wave of departures. They concluded their campaign in third place with a mere two points.
Tom Saintfiet tendered his resignation as head of The Gambia mere moments after their exit, unable to replicate the success of their AFCON debut two years prior when they reached the quarter-finals.
While it came as less of a surprise, Algeria parted ways with Djamel Belmadi and Jalel Kadri resigned as manager of Tunisia. Additionally, Ivory Coast took swift action after finishing third in Group A.
Jean-Louis Gasset bore the consequences of their defeats against Equatorial Guinea, the most significant losses in his team’s history, transforming eager anticipation into chagrin among the Elephants’ supporters. Strangely, Ivory Coast still managed to qualify after Gasset’s departure.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football imposed an eight-match ban and a $10,000 fine on Tanzania coach Adel Amrouche, leading to his subsequent dismissal by the Tanzania Football Federation.
5 real UPSETS
The Ivory Coast, serving as the host nation, found themselves on the brink of elimination, while unexpected underdogs took center stage, overshadowing even the most celebrated players.
Despite their peculiar decisions both on and off the pitch, the hosts have miraculously secured a place in the quarter-finals after a thrilling 5-4 victory on penalties over the defending champions, Senegal, following a 1-1 draw, further intensifying the tournament’s excitement.
Another major upset unfolded when Bafana Bafana clashed with Morocco, Africa’s top-ranked team, in a quest to secure a spot in the quarter-finals. It seemed improbable for a Southern African Development Community (SADC) nation to stand a chance against a team boasting European-based stars such as Ashraf Hakimi, Youssef En-Nesyri, Azzedline Ounahi, and Nayef Aguerd, among others. However, against all odds, Bafana managed to withstand the pressure posed by the formidable team, securing victory through beautifully executed goals by Evidence Makgopa and Tebogo Mokoena.
Cape Verde also emerged as a surprise contender, with their AFCON campaign featuring a 2-1 victory over the formidable Ghana, a 2-2 draw against Egypt, and a 1-0 win over Mozambique, ensuring their progression to the round of 16. Building on these heroic performances, the Blue Sharks of Cabo Verde defeated Mauritania by a single goal, securing a place in the quarter-finals where they are set to battle Bafana for a spot in the semi-finals.
Adding to the excitement, DR Congo exhibited resilience in their approach against Egypt, forcing the game to penalties which they won 7-8.
105 GOALS…still counting
The 2023 AFCON has not only witnessed the best scoring ratio in over a decade, but it has also set a new record for shot-to-goal conversion rate since 2010, with an impressive 12.3% of the 521 shots taken finding the back of the net in 44 out of 52 matches played.
Moreover, the total number of goals scored has reached 105 with seven matches remaining, surpassing the previous record of 102 set in the 2019 AFCON held in Egypt. Notably, Emillo Nsue of Equatorial Guinea currently leads the scoring charts with five goals, having achieved the first AFCON hat-trick since 2008, marking a significant milestone in the competition.
Nsue’s remarkable performance underscores the high level of talent on display at the 2023 AFCON, which has also boasted the highest goals per game ratio on record (2.7) since 2008. Furthermore, he has etched his name in history as the oldest player to score a hat-trick in an AFCON match, among other individual milestones achieved during the Group Stage.
Regrettably, Nsue and his team have been eliminated from the tournament after a crucial missed penalty cost them an advantage, leading to a late winner for Guinea. The question now remains: will anyone be able to surpass Nsue’s impressive goal-scoring feat?
131 YELLOW cards & 9 RED cards
The intensity and excitement of AFCON 2023 has been a delight for football lovers. As the tournament progresses, the number of yellow and red cards issued by referees serves as a testament to the tight competition and adds to the excitement.
After 44 out of 52 matches played, the referees have already issued 131 yellow cards and nine red cards. These statistics indicate the fierce competition and the high stakes involved in each game. The yellow and red cards serve as a reflection of the players’ determination, passion, and sometimes, their frustration. The referees’ strict enforcement of the rules ensures that the matches remain fair and competitive, adding to the overall intensity of the tournament.
The issuance of yellow and red cards also demonstrates the physicality and aggression displayed by the teams. AFCON is known for its robust style of play, where players exhibit their strength and skill to gain an advantage. The referees’ vigilance in penalizing fouls and misconducts ensures that the matches maintain a balance between competitiveness and fair play. This intensity on the field keeps the spectators on the edge of their seats, eagerly anticipating the outcome of each match.
The Delight of Football Lovers
The tight and intense nature of AFCON 2023 undoubtedly adds to the delight of millions of football lovers who tune in to witness this showpiece event. The passion and dedication exhibited by the players resonate with fans, creating a sense of unity and excitement. The tournament becomes a platform for supporters to rally behind their respective nations, fostering a sense of national pride and camaraderie.
Moreover, the potential for surprises in AFCON 2023 further enhances the delight of football lovers. Nations such as Cape Verde, Mali, Guinea, and Angola, who have never experienced AFCON glory, have the opportunity to make history. The prospect of an underdog nation emerging victorious in the end adds an element of unpredictability and excitement to the tournament. Football enthusiasts revel in witnessing the rise of unexpected heroes and the triumph of the underdogs, making the competition even more captivating.
The leadership scuffle within the Botswana Football League (BFL) has reached a critical point, with the Botswana Football Association (BFA) refusing to meet with Minister of Sports, Tumiso Rakgare, to discuss the ongoing crisis. The BFA argues that government interference would violate FIFA statutes and believes that there are internal structures in place to resolve the matter.
Minister Rakgare expressed his concern over the situation, as he believes that the feud could disrupt national football activities. He wanted to understand the details of the conflict and the mechanisms in place to bring about a resolution. The Ministry of Sports has stated that they will summon the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) to discuss how to proceed in dealing with an affiliate funded by the government that chooses to dictate its relationship with the government.
In the midst of this turmoil, BFL chairman Nicolas Zakhem, who had previously taken the shareholders to court to challenge his removal from the board, has been suspended from football activities by fellow board member Tebogo Sebego. Sebego cited Article 26 of the BFL constitution, which aligns with BFA and FIFA statutes, stating that disputes within football should not be taken to court until all prescribed procedures have been exhausted. Zakhem’s suspension has caused another board member, Jagdish Shah, to resign from the BFL board.
An emergency meeting between the BFA, BFL board, and shareholders was held, but it failed to yield any results. Shareholders threatened to boycott the meeting if Zakhem was allowed to participate, leading to further tensions. As a result, the premier league and first division leagues remain suspended until certain issues are addressed.
BFA WARN CLUBS AS THE IMPASSE CONTINUE
In a letter signed by BFA CEO Mfolo Mfolo, part of the letter reads, “As we approach the upcoming League matches, we are writing to emphasize the critical importance of your attendance and active participation. Attending League matches is not only a responsibility but a fundamental obligation outlined in the statues and regulations of governing football in Botswana.
Mfolo further said the mediation meeting which was held on the 10 January 2024 to facilitate a constructive dialogue among the concerned parties, aiming for an amicable resolution failed to yield the desired success.
“During the mediations, the parties reiterated their right to suspend league activities until their demands are met. This assertion poses significant challenges to the overall governance and operational stability of the league.” Mfolo said.
The BFA chief further said its imperative to note that the threat to suspend the league activities is in violation of several provision outlined in the BFA Constitution and the Memorandum of Agreement between the BFL and BFA.
It remains to be seen as to how the conflict will be resolved. The leadership scuffle within the BFL has escalated to the point where the BFA refused to meet with the Minister of Sports to discuss the crisis.
The BFA argues that government interference would violate FIFA statutes and believes that internal structures are in place to resolve the matter. Meanwhile, the suspension of BFL chairman Zakhem and the resignation of board member Shah have added to the turmoil.
The Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) is gearing up for the highly anticipated Paris Olympics 2024. With a history of producing exceptional athletes, Botswana has seen success in previous Olympic Games, including a silver and bronze medal. However, with only five male runners having qualified thus far and no female athletes making the cut, the BAA is facing financial challenges in their pursuit of two medals. STAFF WRITER TSHEPO KEHIMILE explores the BAA’s need for P5 million in funding, the current state of qualification, and the importance of financial support for athletes’ preparations.
The BAA has estimated that they will need more than P5 million to adequately prepare their athletes for the Paris Olympics. This funding will be directed towards athletes’ training camps and preparations to ensure they are ready for the Games in July. In an interview with this publication, BAA Vice President Administration, Oabona Theetso said they will need a financial assistance from the government. “The money will be directed to athletes’ preparations and training camps to ensure they are ready when the Olympics Games begin in July,” he explained.
The BAA Vice President Administration has emphasized the importance of financial assistance from the government to meet these requirements.
As of now, only five male runners have qualified for the Olympics, while no female athletes have secured their spots. The BAA had set a target of 12 athletes for the main event, raising concerns about whether the current qualifiers will be enough to bring home the targeted two medals. Theetso remains confident that more athletes can still qualify if additional resources are made available.
Looking back at previous Olympic Games, Botswana’s performance has been a mix of successes and missed opportunities. In 2012, Nijel Amos won Botswana’s first Olympic medal, a silver in the 800m event. In 2021, the Men’s 4x400m relay team which comprised of Isaac Makwala, Bayapo Ndori, Zibane Ngozi and Baboloki Thebe secured a bronze medal in Tokyo. However, in previous Games, Botswana failed to bring home any medals despite sending teams of athletes.
The absence of female athletes who have qualified for the Olympics thus far is a significant concern for the BAA. This is the first time since 2004 that no female athletes have made the cut at this point. However, Theetso assures that Botswana has capable female athletes who can reach the Olympics, as it is every athlete’s dream to compete at such a prestigious event.
So far, Letsile Tebogo (100m & 200m), Bayapo Ndori (400m), Leungo Scotch (400m), Busang Collen Kebinatshipi (400m) and Tshepiso Masalela (800m) are the only athletes who have already qualified for the upcoming Olympics which prompts a question of whether these lads will be enough to bring the targeted two medals home.
From the look of things, the Botswana Athletics Association is facing a financial challenge as they strive to secure two medals at the Paris Olympics 2024. With only five male runners having qualified and no female athletes making the cut, the BAA is in need of P5 million in funding to support athletes’ preparations and training camps. While Botswana has seen success in previous Olympic Games, the absence of female qualifiers and the limited number of current qualifiers raise concerns about achieving the desired results. Financial support from the government is crucial to ensure that Botswana’s athletes are adequately prepared to compete at the highest level. With dedication, hard work, and the necessary resources, Botswana’s athletes have the potential to make their mark at the Paris Olympics 2024.