Botswana meets AFCON bid deadline

Portia Mlilo
EXCITED: Mamelodi

Botswana has this week submitted the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2027 bid book at the headquarters of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Cairo Egypt.

The bid book which cost around P65 million was delivered both by hand and through email, in addition to another hard copy being sent via courier. This was to officially cement Botswana’s commitment to securing the rights to host the 36th AFCON.

Botswana initially started this journey with their neighbour, Namibia who withdrew at the last minute from the joint bid citing lack of finance.

The bid book sells the Botswana story from her history through her current status, to her future ambitions most significantly, demonstrating the country’s wherewithal to deliver a mega event of the AFCON. It is expected that CAF will announce the winner before the end of September 2023, giving the successful bidder just under 4 years to prepare for the continental showpiece.

According to Botswana bid committee Chairperson, Ashford Mamelodi, CAF is expected to confirm within the next few days, names of countries that have successfully lodged bid books with them. He said pursuant to that they will among other things carry out an inspection of facilities ahead of the Executive Board, pronouncing the winning bid.

“For us, submission of the bid book is the greatest milestone we have achieved to date. We did not just submit a bid book, but a very compelling one that should land Botswana the rights to the prestigious AFCON competition in 2027. Having submitted the bid book, the next big assignment of the Bid Committee is to lobby the approximately twenty-two members of the CAF Executive Board with whom the decision of the host nation lies,” said Mamelodi.

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For his part, the Minister of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture- Tumiso Rakgare, said that AFCON 2027 will be a serious catalyst for Botswana’s development.

‘Preparing for the competition will result in an infrastructural boom and in the process create thousands of temporary and permanent jobs. As we aspire to become a high income economy by 2036, there are not many better catalysts towards that than staging competitions such as the AFCON,” he added.

Botswana Football Association Chief Executive Officer, Mfolo Mfolo, said they are excited at the prospects of hosting AFCON. He said the football landscape in Botswana would never be the same and that Botswana will not only have better facilities, but that a lot of young people will be inspired to play football.

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