Friday, July 12, 2024

Botswana silent on estimated cost of hosting Afcon finals

The Minister of Sports has announced Botswana’s interest to host the Afcon 2027 finals, but secrecy surrounds the estimation of costs to undertake it.

When consultants Reuben Reddy Architects were roped in to undertake facilities audit ahead of the bid, the government promised findings will be shared once the report was completed. That stance now seems to have changed.

The consultants submitted their facilities audit report to the government end of March. Since then, it has been kept under wraps. In contrast, the then co-bidders Namibia had released details of theirs before their last-minute pullout from the co-hosting agreement.

While the secrecy continues, it is certain Botswana will need a lot of resources if she is to host. According to CAF requirements, for one to host the AFCON there should have two 40 000-seater capacity stadia and four 15 000 capacity stadia. 

On Wednesday during a press briefing, Minister of Sports (MYSC) Tumiso Rakgare said they could not say how much will be needed since engagements with ministry of finance are still ongoing. 

He however said the facilities audit cost Botswana at least P1.3 million. The bid book will cost the country P65. 636 million. With Namibia having withdrawn its interest of co-hosting with Botswana, the costs are expected to be astronomical.

Namibia has since withdrawn its interest sighting expenses and drought among reasons why they could not go ahead with Botswana. Botswana’s solo bid for AFCON 2027 came as a surprise. The country had indicated it will be impossible to go alone because it will be expensive. 

This much was expressed by Botswana and Namibia Bid Committee (BidCo) chairman, Ashford Mamelodi in March. He opined that “it was impossible for Botswana or Namibia to host AFCON alone due to cost. CAF encourages co-hosting to cut cost and give smaller countries a chance to host.”

For the country now, it has to prove it will have the two 40 000 capacity stadiums required if it is given the hosting rights. As of now, the country has none. Both Obed Itani Stadium in Francistown and the National Stadium in Gaborone have less than 30 000 capacity. Besides, they have of late been failing CAF inspections. The National Stadium in particular will need extensive facelift to pass the test.

For now, any idea of the estimated costs lies within the Reuben Reddy Architects facilities audit report. The audit was done to know what will be needed in terms of stadia, road infrastructure and transport among other things. 

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