‘Botswana Not Ready For AFCON 2027’

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  • Some local coaches cast doubt on the country’s readiness to co-host with Namibia

Some doubts have been cast upon Botswana’s readiness to compete with the best in the African continent in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in 2027 which the country along with Namibia is bidding to co-host.

Some pundits in local football have posited that the current state of the sport in the country leaves a lot of doubt and may be a clear indication that the country is far from being ready for the upcoming 36th edition of AFCON. They argue, Botswana has a mammoth task ahead to put up a competitive team.

Veteran coach, Phillimon Makhwengwe believes that Botswana is not ready for the 2027 AFCON. He said for the country to perform well at a continental level, its national league must be intact and competitive.

“Things are not good at the moment in our football and there are things that need to be done and among others is to bring the technical and the administrative aspects together under one roof so that things can be discussed to make sure that football wins at the end of the day,” he told Times Sport.

Makhwengwe advised that for the country to put up a strong team towards the 2027 AFCON, it should make sure it exports players and coaches to leagues like South Africa, France and Spain. He highlighted the Senegal national team which has many players plying their trade in France and Spain, and is doing well in the continental showpiece and has even qualified for the Qatar World Cup 2022.

He stressed that as Botswana builds towards co-hosting AFCON 2027 finals, lessons should be learnt from the past adding that rebuilding the Zebras, BFA should focus on administration, coach education and development structures.

At administrative level, he said a proper result-oriented strategy with clear cut plans should be put in place. He implored Botswana to emulate countries who used hosting as a building block for future success.

“We need to be realistic about the challenges before us and start working on our teams and see them as projects. In 2006, Germany hosted the World Cup and they did not win it but from there they went on to change the football philosophy in their country and eventually won the world cup in 2014. We can do the same,” he urged.

Former Zebras coach Stanley Tshosane opined that the BFA’s strategy is always weak and blur. He is of the view that the association has stopped building for long term success, but is rather just focused on short term wins. This he said is the problem with local football especially the administrative aspects of the game.

Tshosane pointed out that there is never smooth transition between the national team coaches as they change office. He revealed that after his tenure as head coach of the Zebras, he was not able to share his 2012 AFCON report to the coach who took over the rein of the national team from him. This, he said affects continuity which affects growth.

Tshosane believes that the mal-administration of football structures in Botswana has killed the growth, adding that most of those who are hired in leadership position are not there to serve football but their own interests.

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