Thursday, February 9, 2023

Botswana readies for Afcon

Botswana Namibia 2027 (BONA 2027) Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) bid Local Organising Committee plans to deliver on its mandate.

It is however not lost to the chairperson of the bid committee Ashford Mamelodi that they will need to work around the clock if they are to meet strict deadline schedules and deliver on their mandate.

The BONA 2027 bid LOC is working to engage consultants to assist in producing the bid document. An optimistic Mamelodi is convinced they will win the rights to co-host Africa’s most prestigious football showpiece.

Briefing the media on the bid progress this past week, Mamelodi observed that the work ahead is enormous and needs strategies to meet the set standards and submit the bid document on time.

“We are going to do an audit of infrastructure. That is all needed to host the event. We have to engage consultants to holistically tell us what we have and where we need to improve. We also need to know what has to be done in terms of new stadia and other needs,” explained Mamelodi.

He said the bid committee has started engaging key stakeholders to enable them to have a buy in and support the bid.

Mamelodi told the media that are yet to estimate the costs of hosting each of the potential co-hosts. “The budget will be formulated after the audit because the audit is going to guide us on what is needed. It will not only look into facilities but it will be broad to thoroughly outline what is needed so that budgeting can be realistic and thorough,” he explained.

While most, if not all of the stadiums in Botswana and Namibia are not CAF compliant to host continental competitions, both countries are optimistic that they will be able to make remedial works at the existing stadia and will be able to erect new facilities to meet the requirements.

Mamelodi said the commitment by the two governments to fund and finance the bid is assurance that the key stakeholders will see the bid through and will also commit in making sure that they host a successful event.

On strategies to win, Mamelodi said they have categorised countries according to regional blocks.

“In COSAFA region we expect a soft landing because we are from form COSAFA. We expect colleagues to support the bid. Also, the CAF president is from COSAFA region so we expect him to support our bid. Although I am saying we expect soft landing in the COSAFA region, we don’t expect them to just support us but we expect them to make a football decision that will make sure the 2027 AFCON is hosted by a country that is ready and meets the standards” he said.

In other regions he observed that more work is expected to be done in terms of lobbying. More travel and meetings are expected to take place to convince each member why BONA has to host the 2027 tournament. The bid committee comprises of people from sport governing bodies and governments of both countries.

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