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In a shocking turn of events, Namibia on Wednesday decided to pull out of their joint bid with Botswana (BONA27) to host the African Cup of Nation (AFCON).
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has set May 23, 2023 as the deadline for member associations willing to host the showpiece in 2027 to submit their final bids with the winning bid set to be announced in September.
But in the letter dated April 19, the Namibian Minister of Sports, Youth and National Service, Agnes Tjongarero informed Botswana’s Minister of Youth, Sports, Gender, and Culture, Tumiso Rakgare that her government is unable to fulfill its obligation in terms of the Memorandum of Agreement between the two countries.
Tjongarero outlined in the letter that reasons for termination of the MoA are that; the budget provision for the lead consultant as proposed by the company chosen is above their budget threshold agreed originally as submitted by the bid committee and their request for additional funding was not approved.
She further outlined that the Facilities Audit Report (FAR) required bill of N$4.8 billion for the upgrade of the sports infrastructure is an impossible task for them looking at the fact the they will as well unable to meet the June deadline for CAF facilities inspection date.
The minister further indicated that due to severe drought, the Namibian government had to readjust, refocus and realign its financial priorities with the limited resources at their disposal to avoid a catastrophic economic situation thus their reason for termination.
Meanwhile, the committee’s chairperson Ashford Mamelodi confirmed the developments and pleaded not to comment further on the matter citing protocol procedure. He said they received the communication on Wednesday afternoon therefore they are yet to deliberate on the issue.
The development comes at the time when the BONA27 was working on appointing a lead consultant who was to be responsible for helping the duo compile the final bid book for submission, and this included all bidding and hosting documents, hosting agreements and government guarantees among others as per CAF requirements.
The two countries were also yet to submit declaration of interest form to host the continental competitions signed by the legal representative of their associations.
Speaking in an interview recently, Mamelodi revealed that they have since tasked a team to South Africa for the lead consultant assignment from which they were expecting a positive respond before end of today (Friday 21).
“The team was sent to Johannesburg, where we are hopeful to have a positive appointment of a lead consultant and all proceedings will commence to ensure that we meet the deadline for the submission or otherwise we are out,” he told Time Sport.
According to him, the lead consultant’s role is to compile the bid book and the final application which entails their interest to host the showpiece in 2027 and that is expected to be submitted to CAF before May 23, 2023.
“In terms of whether we will or not meet the deadline, we must first have the appointment of the lead consultant concluded and once that is done, we will move on with other necessary requirements which at the end will enable us to deliver the bid book within deadline, “he said.
Mamelodi further noted that the lead consultant will be hired within a timely contract which would have to speak to timely delivery of the bid book as a condition so that they work within the four weeks left before the deadline.
The chairperson had expressed confidence that they will make it through the help of the two government ministries from Botswana and Namibia, adding that they recently had a fruitful meeting with the Minister of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture, Tumiso Rakgare and his counterpart Minister Agnes Tjongarero of Namibia’s Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service.
He said the facilities audit reports had been submitted to both ministers and the two were undertaking necessary consultations before communicating the position of the two governments.
Furthermore, Mamelodi said the meeting with minister Rakgare also resolved that the Botswana Football Association and the Namibia Football Associations should file a joint expression of interest to CAF.