“It is Nothing to Worry About”
- Not one stadium in Botswana has passed muster for hosting CAF and FIFA games
- Sports minister and BNSC say everything will be hunky-dory by CAF assessors’ second visit
The Minister of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture, Tumiso Rakgare, says he is confident that Botswana stadia will pass the test when assessors from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) return for a second round of inspections.
Notably, Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) shares the minister’s views about what is an objectively damning report.
This comes after Botswana’s stadia were deemed ineligible for hosting any CAF or FIFA-sanctioned competitions because they do not meet the minimum required standards to host such matches.
Botswana and Namibia
Botswana and Namibia stadia became conspicuous by their absence from CAF’s list of stadia eligible for hosting sanctioned matches recently despite the two countries’ plans to jointly bid for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
In an interview with Gazette Sports recently, Minister Rakgare sought to downplay the telling omission of Botswana stadia from the crucial report, saying it was nothing to worry.
All of the country’s three major stadiums, the National Stadium in Gaborone, Lobatse Stadium, and the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown, did not pass muster with the assessors and were accordingly disqualified for hosting CAF and FIFA-sanctioned competitions.
“We need to inform ourselves on issues of this nature because what CAF said is not anything to worry about,” Rakgare said. “We will fix everything that they spoke about. These include TV screens, the sitting arrangement and access to the stadiums.
“This is not going to deter us from focusing on our main aim of bidding for AFCON 2027 because we are confident that whatever needs to be rectified will be in place soon.
“We have well-built stadia”
“What is more exciting is that we have well-built stadia and we appreciate CAF’s advice which we believe that it will go a long way in guiding the government’s efforts of improving sports facilities in the country.
“CAF will return for the second inspection and I am sure that we are going to pass the test and move on with our plans.”
The sports minister noted that the Ministry of Finance has pledged support for building new stadiums and other sports facilities in Botswana before the highly-anticipated AFCON 2027.
“We are bidding for a competition that is four years away and still have ample time to build more stadiums,” he said. “The Ministry of Finance has indicated that they are going to finance construction of desired facilities after we decide where we want to build those. This is a major boost of our confidence.”
Incidentally, the CEO of Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC), Tuelo Serufho, agrees with the minister and has told Gazette Sports that what needs attending to is “minor” and will be mended in no time.
“The Obed Itani Chilume Stadium modifications are minor things which we will have fixed before the second inspection,” he said. “I can confidently state that when everything is fixed in that stadium, it will be qualified to host AFCON matches.
“We are not worried that much and can assure Batswana that our stadia will soon be listed as eligible for CAF and FIFA games.”