The 36th edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON 2027) is expected to leave a lasting legacy for the host countries in areas including health, transport, hospitality, television, sport and their economies.
Some pundits have shown skepticism on the prospects of the envisaged co-hosting bid by Botswana and Namibia (BONA 2027) benefitting the host countries.
They have also claimed doubt over the two countries possibility of winning the co-hosting bid due to lack of football infrastructures especially required to host a tournament of that magnitude.
For tournaments of that nature, four or five stadiums of high standards with each having four training grounds are a requirement to qualify for such bids. Botswana will thus need to fix the already available stadiums and construct three more.
In an interview with Times Sport, BONA 2027 Spokesperson Tuelo Serufho said though there are negative comments from many about the idea of Botswana/Namibia hosting the 2027 AFCON, he is however optimistic that Batswana will benefit from the stadiums that will be built in these countries as well other infrastructure including roads and training grounds.
Serufho revealed that the three stadiums and other sports complex in Maun, Serowe, Molepolole will be renovated and upgraded to meet the CAF standards. According to him, the two countries have already commenced a status audit exercise for essential elements such as stadia, hotels, airports, medical and broadcast facilities, amongst others.
Serufho indicated that while CAF is yet to officially open the bid process and release guidelines, they are however aware that as a minimum requirement the successful host would have to provide at least six (6) competition venues, up to two dozen training venues, hundreds of good quality hotel rooms for teams and officials, good road and air network systems, international standard broadcast capability and good health infrastructure amongst others.
“The AFCON will benefit the two countries in terms of economic boost to big and medium business especially hotels, lodges and transportation as well as catering businesses because we will accommodate many people from African nations,” he added.
Serufho added that BONA 2027 has also put into effect stakeholder and lobbying strategies, with meetings already held with some key stakeholders in both countries as well as the Southern African region. He further revealed that more engagements are planned especially in the months of July and August and these are to be extended even outside Southern Africa.
“We want to ensure positive delivery on our mandate and we are busy setting up a secretariat and so far we have secured the services of three full time employees, two of whom are based in Gaborone the third one is in Windhoek. We are doing everything humanly possible to be ready as we are well aware that it is going to be a very competitive bid. Some of the countries that are said to be interested in hosting 2027 have previously hosted the AFCON and as it can be imagined, they already have most of the infrastructure in place,” he said.
Serufho said they however remain hopeful because even before they started thinking about bidding for this continental showpiece, the governments of Botswana and Namibia were already doing a lot in terms of improving roads, airports, health and other relevant facilities. He said they are therefore confident that the duo will put a compelling bid and will be ready to host Africa and the world in 2027.
Serufho believes that with the level of support shown by the two governments, including their Heads of State, the BONA 2027 bid will succeeds more so given the advantages the two countries have such as infrastructure as compared to other countries.