Botswana soccer fans will be disappointed to learn that 2010 World Cup fan parks will only be available inside South Africa.
Addressing a corporate and media briefing in Gaborone yesterday, South African High Commissioner to Botswana Dikgang Moopeloa said nine fan parks would be set up in the neighbouring country during next June's World Cup finals.
There were hopes that Botswana would have some fan parks during the month-long football jamboree, the first to be hosted in Africa.
"There will only be nine fan parks in South Africa. Botswana will not be able to host fan parks, but instead public viewing areas would be applicable here" Moopeloa said.
Fan parks are designated areas where fans can go and watch soccer matches live at public screening. The concept became popular during the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals in Germany. An estimated 20million fans thronged fan parks while the figure of supporters who went to the stadium was three million.
What would be considered for Botswana, are Public Viewing Areas (PVAs) and the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) is in contact with FIFA and other stakeholders in South Africa regarding the viewing facilities.
Moopeloa said ticket sales for the Confederations Cup, which kicks off in under a fortnight, had picked in recent days. He said games involving World champions, Italy and Brazil were sold out.
"Since adjustments to the ticket purchasing arrangement made by FIFA, we are receiving encouraging news," Moopeloa said.
He said corporate client are allowed to buy tickets which explains the
Moopeloa said Botswana fans could purchase tickets in Rustenburg in the North West.
He encouraged locals to take advantage of the two soccer showpieces to explore business opportunities.
A member of the Rustenburg 2010 World Cup organising committee, Obed Legobate, encouraged Batswana to buy tickets.
"I appeal to Batswana to come in large numbers and support this event. We have tickets booths in Rustenburg.
He said PVAs were being mooted for Botswana to 'bring the game to your doorsteps if you can't make it to Rustenburg".
BTC head of corporate strategy Duncan Kgame said the corporation, through its subsidiary, be MOBILE, was exploring ways of extending its relationship with football through the World Cup.
"We intend to import the World Cup to Botswana. We realised that during the World Cup, there would not be any football activities so we thought of filling that gap," Kgame said.
He said BTC was looking at commercial PVAs, admitting the enormous task that lies ahead, saying it requires partnerships.
Kgame said it was not immediately clear if the feed for the World Cup would come from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), which is the official broadcaster, or Botswana Television (Btv).