Saturday, July 13, 2024

Botswana to bid for hosting Africa Cup of Nations

The last time Botswana hosted a major soccer show-piece was 12 years ago and that was the Under 17 African championships.

Although Botswana performed horribly, the hosting of the tournament proved to be invaluable.

Scouts of big clubs around the world descended in the country to witness the raw talent. Hosting tournaments of such magnitude exposes the country to the rest of the world.

It has also proven that hosting any major tournament accelerates the development of infrastructure. Several countries have constructed new stadiums and hotels for such purposes.

Normally the teams that host major soccer show pieces tend to produce best players for several years.

It will be remembered that the 1997 Under 17 team produced the likes of Edwin Disang, who nearly made it to Belgium where he was invited for trials, but his main undoing was reported to be his height.

Another player, Mogogi Gabonamong, is one of the few local players plying their trade in the money spinning South African Premier League. Mompati Thuma, on the other hand, makes the nucleus of the national team and many Batswana cannot imagine the national team without him.

The last time Botswana tried to make an effort to host a major tourney was the Africa Cup of Nations for 2010 but lack of government support spoiled the party for Botswana.

The Confederation of African Football has made it clear that it will not award any country to host a major tournament if there is no government support. The announcement shocked the sporting fraternity because the concerned relative authorities, Botswana Football Association (BFA), said they had not been briefed on the matter.

Whether Botswana will host any major international soccer tournament is up to the Botswana Football Association.
The President of the Botswana Football Association, David Fani, told Sunday Standard that they are doing all they can to bid for future tournaments. He added that they are consulting with the relevant stakeholders so that everything goes smoothly.

“To be honest, we are not sitting on our laurels. We are consulting with all the concerned parties. We intend to bid for either 2014 or 2016 because there are lots of benefits involved. It is our desire to host a tournament of high magnitude,” he said.

On the issue of the coach, Fani said they did all the logistics involved in recruiting a coach and are only left with finer details.

“We long shortlisted and even conducted our interviews. In due course we will make an announcement on who actually will be taking over the team,” he said.
When the post for national team was advertised, there were claims that it was altered to suit a certain coach but not what the country needs.

The last foreign coach for the Zebras was British born Colywn Rowe. He was hired mainly on the basis that he had strong developmental structure background. But he did not leave up to the mandate because he was concerned with the results rather than developing the team. On the other hand, with the looming resignation of the BFA Vice President for administration, Vincent Seretse, Fani said a replacement will soon be found once he resigns.
Fani, however, emphasized that he is yet to receive a formal resignation from Seretse.


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