FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Football Association (BFA) president Maclean Letshwiti has called on government to consider coming up with strategies aimed at turning Francistown into a sport tourism centre of note.
Letshwiti made the remarks recently at the official launch of sponsorship for division one and two soccer leagues that are run by the Francistown Regional Football Association (FRAFA).
He said that the move could help grow the ailing economy of the city. The BFA president highlighted that renowned countries such as the United Kingdom (UK) and some Asian nations have successfully leveraged on sports tourism to improve their economies.
According to him, once the city has been turned into a sports tourism centre, it can be used to host huge sports events in the city on a constant basis in the process attracting visitors. He said the visitors would inject cash into the formal and informal sector in the process boosting the city’s waning economy.
Letshwiti emphasised that there is need for government to leverage on the popularity of football in the city and use the sport as a base to establish a sports tourism centre of note.
“Due to the support our soccer national teams often receive when they play in the city (Francistown), I will be consulting the BFA national executive council with a view of convincing them to make Francistown the home of the Zebras and Mares. This will be one way of trying to create a foundation for government to turn Francistown into a sports tourism centre of note,” he said, adding that he will share the idea to turn Francistown into a sports tourism centre to relevant government stakeholders.
All the soccer national teams have to receive huge support from the people of Francistown whenever they play in the country’s second city. Elite league teams such as Township Rollers have in the past played their home matches in Francistown. The said league matches were well attended.
For his part Francistown city clerk Lopang Pule noted that the city currently faces acute unemployment as a result of its declining economy.
Pule acknowledged that businesses such as hotels and the informal sector benefit massively from huge sports events held in the city. He said that the FCC is open to supporting the idea of turning Francistown into a huge sports tourism centre through various means.