Gov’t budgets P1.1bn for AFCON bid

Upgrades: The government has budgeted P105 million for the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium roof FILE PIC
Upgrades: The government has budgeted P105 million for the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium roof FILE PIC

The government has proposed a budget of more than P1.1 billion for the hosting of the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations finals, Mmegi Sport has learnt. According to the transitional National Development Plan, covering two financial periods between 2023 and 2025, a total of P1.134 billion will be set aside for hosting the continental competition.

Earlier this year, Botswana announced plans to host the biennial competition and has launched a joint bid with neighbours Namibia. Botswana has the majority hosting stake at 60%, with the remainder going to Namibia. With most facilities in need of an upgrade to meet CAF hosting standards, the government, in the transitional NDP, indicates the bulk of the budget reserved for the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Gender and Culture, will go towards the AFCON bid. The transition NDP is expected to be tabled before the current sitting of Parliament. “The programme entails refurbishment of facilities to increase access and participation in sport for the promotion of healthy lifestyles.

These facilities are planned to be developed in different centres around the country including Francistown, Lobatse, and Gaborone,” reads the document. “The facilities are also needed as part of the Botswana bid to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations in partnership with Namibia and also in a quest to have Botswana hosting other major sporting events in future.” As part of preparing for the tournament, the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium will have a roof constructed at a cost of P105 million. During the 2023-2024 financial year, P50 million will be spent on the Obed Itani Chilume roof project, with P55 million allocated for the 2024-2025 period. The stadium’s roof construction is a separate item under the transitional NDP and is not included in the overall AFCON hosting budget. Under AFCON hosting, P50 million will be spent during the 2023–2024 period, before a significant increase to P1.084billion in the subsequent financial year.

In a separate project, a new indoor hall will be constructed at a cost of P12 million, while MYSC facilities will be refurbished at a cost of P58 million. In all, the cost of infrastructure upgrades, including building new facilities, will cost P1.456 billion. Technical bid chairperson, Ashford Mamelodi indicated that the country would need to construct a stadium in the greater Gaborone and Maun. Existing facilities, which include the National Stadium, the Lobatse Sports Complex and the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium are not at the expected CAF standards and will have to be revamped. AFCON finals hosts are expected to have a stadium with a 40,000-capacity and both Botswana and Namibia have none at present. Botswana has earmarked Lobatse, Gaborone, Francistown and Maun as the possible four hosting centres, while in Namibia, Swakopmund and Windhoek are the two centres. Under the 60:40% hosting arrangement, Namibia will host the opening match while the final will be played in Botswana. Botswana is in the process of carrying out its facilities audit to identify gaps and the needed facilities. Mamelodi also indicated the bid book has not been compiled.

The bid book is the document that outlines the bid in detail and is submitted to CAF. CAF is expected to tour all countries interested in hosting the 2027 showpiece although dates have not been released. The joint bid technical committee has been hard at work, but it is unclear how much has been used in the preliminary stages. BONA's (Botswana Namibia 2027) head of marketing and public relations, Tshepo Maphanyane told Mmegi Sport that they are awaiting feedback regarding the proposed budget. “I will, however, engage as soon as I have an indication of how much has been spent thus far. At the moment we are not in a position to make any pronouncements regarding the budget, at this time,” she said.

Editor's Comment
Tighten the law on drug dealers

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