Stopping just short of explicitly accusing CAF of foul play, sports minister Tumiso Rakgare is adamant that Botswana’s bid book was second to none in Cairo where the Bid Committee was superb in answering questions. Disappointed and baffled, Rakgare blames Botswana’s loss on what he says was a voting process susceptible to external influences in the voting by secret ballot that eventually unfolded in the Egyptian capital (BLURB)
The Minister of Youth, Gender, Sports, and Culture, Tumiso Rakgare, has expressed disappointment with the voting process that unfolded in Cairo, Egypt for selection of the host nation of the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Describing the process as “regressive,” Minister Rakgare raised concerns about its susceptibility to external influences. “In our view, the voting that unfolded in Cairo was regressive,” he said at a recent presser called to apprise Batswana of their country’s unsucessful bid to host AFCON ’27.
“It is that kind of voting that we are aware is susceptible to external influences. And while we do not suggest that happened, we would urge CAF to consider more progressive and transparent systems as they had initially proposed.
Best bid book
“As Botswana, we would challenge anyone to show us a better bid book than ours for 2027, perhaps taking out Algeria who had withdrawn before the election.
“Then again, because of what we presented in our candidate file and how we responded to questions by the external auditors, PriceHouseWaterhouseCoopers, we are very confident that we were scored very high, perhaps only second to Algeria who had withdrawn, in any case.
“Now that the bid book and the findings were reduced to being of no consequence, and only voting by secret ballot mattered, that is how we lost the vote. We believe in ethical conduct and want to uphold integrity, hence we ran a very clean campaign.”
More transparent processes
While acknowledging the need to avoid raising baseless accusations against CAF, Minister Rakgare stopped short of directly doing so and instead called for adoption of more transparent processes to restore credibility to football on the African continent.
“Lest we run the risk of falsely accusing CAF when they are not here to defend themselves, let us stop at once and encourage them to use the most transparent processes to bring back credibility to the sport of football,” he said.
He added that Botswana would consider its next steps, whether in relation to AFCON, other sporting competitions or events in different sectors, and that these decisions would be made in the future.
“We would, of course, like to take this opportunity to deeply thank the Bid Committee and the Secretariat for their unrivalled commitment to the project, having spent many sleepless nights and hours on end, all with the sole objective of winning the AFCON rights for Botswana,” Rakgare stated.
Significantly, the minister said even though Botswana did not secure the rights to host AFCON ’27, the Bid Committee will become invaluable for guiding sports infrastructure development and setting the stage for future bids in the realm of sports and in other fields.