The Zebras’ qualification for the 2012 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon has once again tempted Stanbic Bank Botswana to bring the tournament’s trophy here for three days.
The AFCON trophy arrives in Gaborone on October 26 before being taken to Palapye and Francistown for the supporters to have a feel of it.
The announcement was made by the bank’s general manager, Leina Gabaraane, during the trophy tour launch in Gaborone on Friday.
This is the second time the bank is bringing the AFCON trophy to the country.
In 2009, Ghanaian legend Abedi Pele Ayew accompanied the trophy. Speaking at the launch, Gabaraane said that as one of the leading financial institutions in Africa and Botswana, they saw it fit to associate with the leading sport in the world which is football.
“When we brought the trophy to Botswana in 2009, most people questioned the decision as the Zebras had not qualified for the 2010 AFCON in Angola. But at the time, we said that bringing the trophy here would encourage the boys to qualify. Now our time has come and the trophy tour will give the boys a chance to feel the trophy,” he said.
Gabaraane added that the trophy tour would give the supporters an opportunity to be part of the African showpiece. He pointed out that it will also help in generating the support for the Zebras as they build up to the showpiece, which kicks off on January 21.
“In the past, we brought Abedi Pele but this time we decided to use our own players,” he continued.
National team captain, Mompati ‘Apache’ Thuma and Mosimanegape ‘Twizer’ Ramohibidu have been chosen as the trophy tour ambassadors and will accompany the trophy wherever it goes during the three-day visit. Gabaraane told the journalists that the two players were chosen after they consulted with the Botswana Football Association (BFA).
In a bid to rally support for the Zebras ahead of the AFCON games, Gabaraane said they will be introducing ‘Football Friday’ where all of his staff members will be wearing Zebra replica jerseys.
He intends to approach other corporations to rally behind the national team. Stabic Bank marketing manager, Duduetsang Chappelle-Molloy, emphasised that during the trophy tour, some of their clients in Gaborone, Palapye and Francistown would benefit.
“We want to have a close interaction with our clients during this trophy tour, so we’ll have dinner with them,” she said.
Some of the bank’s clients will also get the chance to watch the Zebras’ games at the expense of the company. BFA president David Fani said that the coming of the trophy is indeed a milestone and will surely have a lot of meaning to Batswana since the Zebras have qualified for the showpiece.
The draw for the continental showpiece takes place on October 29 in Equatorial Guinea where the Zebras have been put in Pot 4 alongside Sudan, Libya and Niger.
Pot 1 comprises of hosts Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Gabon and Ivory Coast. Pot 2 sees Angola, Zambia, Tunisia and Guinea while Pot 3 is made up of Mali, Senegal, Morocco and Burkina Faso.