It was reveled this week in the findings of Botswana National Strategy 2010 Soccer World Cup that Botswana is capable of hosting two international football teams to come do their pre-training in Gaborone.
According to the Botswana Tourism Board (BTB) Chief Executive Officer, Myra Sekgororone, these teams are not yet identified. To identify these teams, they will have to select those which are worthwhile looking at the people who will be accompanying them. She said the reason for choosing Gaborone is because of the facilities in terms of accommodation and the stadiums that are available. “Our three stadiums namely, the National Stadium, Sir Seretse Khama Botswana Stadium (SSKB) and the University of Botswana stadium, will be used by these teams for practice purposes,” he said.
Sekgororone also pointed out that our National Stadium is going to need a facelift as it will be retained for use as a public arena whereas retaining its status as a national flagship facility. She said the extension of the SSKB Stadium also needs to done by 2009.
“We still have a lot to do. Hoteliers, facility operators and other stakeholders are going to be brought into the loop in order to ensure that any direct approaches with certain targeted teams are dealt with accordingly,” she said.
For Botswana to bring in these international football teams, Sekgororone said that there is a list of key criteria that will be required.
According to her, these include an international airport capable of handling large aircrafts, the ability to process tarmac transfers, a sufficient supply of international standard first class accommodation as well as guaranteed safety and security.
“We also have to look at a sufficient supply of additional hotel accommodation for those people who will be accompanying these teams, for instance, the media and the funs,” she said. Batswana, she said, will also have to look at the minimum traveling distance between airports, hotels, training and other avenues and hospitals, as well as the highest quality medical facilities.
Sekgororone furthermore pointed out that Botswana is best placed to attract international football teams ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup provided all the must haves are attended to immediately.
“The task team believes that all the 32 teams that will qualify for the World Cup would be looking for the best facilities that they can find contrary to reports in circulation suggesting that certain international teams are likely to be satisfied with lower grade facilities,” she said.
As a country, and a potential training base for these teams ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Botswana offers political stability, popular support for hosting these teams, ambitious development plans to bring certain facilities up to the required standard, a climate and in certain cases and altitude similar to South Africa.
This opportunity is ripe for Botswana to harness the entrepreneurial spirit of Batswana, to achieve higher levels of economic growth and sustainable development.