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BFA need not drop the ball

Thuso Palai
Botswana will once again be in the spotlight in September when we host the COSAFA Senior Challenge. The tournament, contested for by the COSAFA members will be held in Botswana over a two week period. West African giants Ghana will be the guest at the tournament, and obviously once again the spotlight will be on Botswana.

Football is arguably the most watched sport in the world and the COSAFA Cup Challenge will surely attract attention to our shores.  To be held a few months after the hugely successful 2nd African Youth Games, the BFA is under immense pressure to emulate the organisers of the Youth Games, and even surpass. Yes; these are totally different sporting events, and the dynamics are hugely different, but some basics are the same and the BFA will have to emulate BAYGOC to ensure that they keep the fire burning.

The BFA will do well to start preparations in earnest immediately and if possible engage some of the individuals who were part of the successful hosting of the 2nd African Youth Games. They amassed invaluable experience that we can use as a nation. We cannot afford to botch any event that we host as we are building a case for bigger sporting events like the All Africa Games and AFCON Finals. I have it on good authority that a Local Organising Committee has been formed and has already started meeting. One can hope that it is made up of passionate, hardworking people who will at times spend some sleepless nights, working hard to have a successful, hassle free COSAFA Cup Challenge. Once again the COSAFA Cup will be a barometer on which we are to measure ourselves as we harbour hopes of hosting bigger sporting Championships, and one day the Commonwealth Games. Who is to say it can’t happen in our lifetime.

After the successful hosting of the Youth Games, I’m confident that we can bid and win the right to host these major continental sporting events in the near future. It is evident that if we

pull together and put our minds to it, anything is possible.

As the BFA prepares to host the COSAFA Cup in September, Sponsorship is quite crucial. It would be helpful if sponsors came on board now so they assist the LOC with funds to start work. Although BAYGOC attracted a lot of sponsors, most of them came in quite late, with just a few months, and in some instances, a few weeks before the actual hosting of the Games. Although they brought is something, it presented a challenge as there was not much time to put the funds into use more efficiently and effectively. This does not however suggest any misuse of funds, but merely points out that if the money had come in earlier, it would have made more of an impact.  The LOC needs to go out and knock on doors as early as now.

Once again Botswana will be on the spotlight. The media from the participating nations, as well as other Nations, will converge on Botswana and will interact with Botswana. It is once again our chance as Botswana to showcase what we are and what we have as a Nation. If given an opportunity, I’m almost certain that most people who came here for the 2nd African Youth Games will not want to miss out on an opportunity to come back again. This is the chance to keep the momentum and show that it was no fluke. The African continent, and indeed the world, is watching. I am confident that we will also host a successful COSAFA Cup Challenge and further boost our hopes for the bigger events like the All Africa Games and the AFCON finals.

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