Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng has declared the new Francistown Sports Complex as the “home of Zebras.”
Speaking during the official opening of the facility last week, Olopeng said the sports complex will be the official home of the national team because the team receives overwhelming support when it plays in Francistown.
“The people of Francistown have humbly requested me declare the Francistown Sports Complex as the home of the Zebras. I have done as they wish because they have shown commitment and support of sports as a collective,” he said.
The Zebras have never lost a game in Francistown. They made history when they overcame all odds to defeat Mali, a feared African football powerhouse. The Francistown sports complex is also hosting the Botswana Games for the first time, after the games were hosted in Gaborone over the years. Olopeng further said sports in Botswana has grown to unprecedented levels and attributed the growth to a variety of factors, among them government support, the will and passion of the people and most importantly designed and executed development programmes which cut across all groups. He said his ministry will use the 50th independence anniversary celebrations next year to reflect on what it has achieved and what can be achieved further going forward.
“We have implemented our own vision 2028 which we are currently reviewing to align with the National Vision 2036. Key in our national strategy is Sports for all, Leisure and Excellence. All these can be achieved if we have fit for purpose infrastructure similar to the Francistown Sports Complex,” said Olopeng.
He said the Francistown Sports Complex has become a hub of all things possible in the second city and a beacon of Sport Excellence.
“For the first time in the history of football in Botswana, Francistown Sports Complex managed to host a live capacity of 26, 600 people in the stadium, with more than 3, 000 outside the stadium hoping to get in when the national team played against Mali and for the first time becoming victorious. This very facility is currently hosting the Botswana Games, also for the first time in the history of Botswana as they have always been hosted in Gaborone. The same facility also hosted a branch of the National Fitness Programme, an initiative I came up with to contribute to healthy lifestyle for all people,” said a proud Olopeng.
He further revealed that he intends to set up world class sports facilities in Botswana that will enable the country to host major events.