Saturday, January 22, 2022

After successful AYG, Botswana sets eyes on All Africa Games and AFCON

After the just ended Africa Youth Games, which were hailed as a resounding success by the international community, Botswana has now sets its eyes on hosting a much bigger continental event between 2018 and 2019. Tuelo Serufho, chief executive officer of the Botswana African Youth Games Organising Committee (BAYGOC), said Botswana will specifically target either the All Africa Games or African Nations Cup (AFCON).

‘‘We will sit down with government to draw up an elaborate plan. But I am confident that by 2018 or 2019 we will be ready to host any continental event on offer,” he said.

He added that he was greatly inspired by the success of the just ended 2nd AYG and is confident that Botswana is capable of hosting international events. Serufho said local sports administrators have embraced the Botswana Excellence Strategy which promotes driving event based tourism.

“Most developed countries use such events to boost their tourism and we should also follow suit. The next events which are much bigger when compared to the AYG are the AFCON and All Africa Games. We should be ready to host one of them,” he said.

Serufho said Botswana should emulate countries like Australia, which have never passed up on an opportunity to host big events, among them international rugby tournaments and Formula 1 races. He also expressed confidence that by 2018 Botswana will have in place adequate infrastructure to enable it to host such big events. He explained that there is no need to build new infrastructure, but just to make minor adjustments on existing infrastructure.

“We have a small population and we don’t need to build large stadia because they may end up as white elephants. We only need to make minor adjustments on existing ones to capacitate them to host major events,” he said.

With only two years to organise the event, Botswana surpassed expectations by hosting bigger and better 2nd AYG. Serufho said Botswana benchmarked on the first edition of the games and, after assessing its infrastructure and capacity, they decided to bid for the second edition, and went on to host an exceptional event. The organizing committee was under pressure to seek sponsorship and also field a formidable team. The preparations were mired in controversy, including mass resignations and allegations of misappropriation of funds. In the end, Botswana hosted 2500 young athletes from 53 countries in a top notch sporting event that was watched by 120 million viewers for ten days without a glitch.

“We did not disappoint even though we were given very little time. Our visitors commended us for a job well done and told us that our team was always at hand to attend to their every need,” said Serufho.

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