Since the beginning of the year 2021, the Confederations of Africa (CAF) football has taken a decision to standardise infrastructures to be used for games under its auspices.
The continental football controlling body requires that for the champions league and confederations cup group stages matches and national team matches, only accredited stadia should be used. CAF inspects and accredit stadia at the beginning of each calendar year and only facilities which pass the grade are then used to host matches. Countries which do not have accredited venues are fixtured to play outside their borders to utilise accredited facilities.
The move has seen a good number of football clubs and national teams in the continent being forced to play games at home due to failure to meet the requirements set up. For Botswana, it has been a mixed luck.
Out of three stadiums being the Lobatse sports Complex, the National stadium and the Obed Itani Chilume stadium, only the latter has been accredited by CAF to host international games. This means the stadium is the only one earmarked to host high level CAF matches including the upcoming champions’ league group stage matches where Jwaneng Galaxy will be featuring.
The other 2 venues, Lobatse Sport Complex and National Stadium are not compliant due to issues regarding the playing surface, state of the grass, lighting, stands seats, running water in ablutions, hot water in dressing rooms, turnstiles and so forth.
While Galaxy will be happy it will host its home matches within the borders of Botswana, the prospect of hosting all its group stage games in Francistown is not ideal. It will come at an extra cost as the team will have to pay for match officials to the venue and the visiting team where necessary.
“We have not taken a decision yet of where we will be hosting our CAF group stage games as we have requested to use the National Stadium. We are also aware that there are a few things that need fixing in order for the stadium to comply with CAF stadiums,” Jwaneng Galaxy Public Relations Officer (PRO), Tankiso Morake said.
He said as a club they are very much aware of how expensive hosting a game at the Obed Itani Chilume stadium may cost. Apart from paying match officials, the venue, accommodation and meals, Morake pointed out that one game may cost close to P400 000.00
Due to financial strains the mining team has also requested financial assistance from Botswana Football Association (BFA) as well as Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC). At the moment the BFA is going through financial turmoil and it is unluckily that they may be able to assist.
“We have not received any funds from BFA nor BNSC; however, BNSC has replied to us that they cannot assist with funds because they do not have money. On the other hand, maybe BFA will get back to us,” he said.
Botswana Football League (BFL) has however managed to assist Jwaneng Galaxy with a grant, Morake pointed out.
As much as Obed Itani Chulime stadium has been a crowd puller allowing clubs to cash in out of gate takings from day 1 of its operation, Morake pointed out that the gate takings will not help much with covering costs as it is expensive to take two teams to Francistown let alone caring their Logistics.