The technical committee working on Namibia and Botswana’s bid for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) yesterday moved swiftly to calm growing perceptions that the bid has become a stalled project, announcing a raft of new developments around the initiative.
Veteran football administrator and chairperson of the bid technical committee Ashford Mamelodi and his entourage are in the country to consult, brief and exchange notes with their Namibian counterparts of the joint technical committee, and also held several meetings with sports minister Agnes Tjongarero and senior officials of the line ministry.
Mamelodi was tasked along with Namibia’s renowned football administrator and former Namibia Football Association president John Muinjo to ensure that the joint bid for Afcon 2027 is a success.
The two countries’ joint bid is known as ‘BONA 2027’, a moniker that also contains the first two letters of both countries’ names.
Mamelodi yesterday held a press conference at the Windhoek Country Club to brief members of the local media about the latest developments around the bid.
Chief amongst the latest developments shared by Mamelodi is the appointment of a combined eight ambassadors for BONA 2027, with four ambassadors from each country.
Brave Gladiators star Lovisa Mulunga, national hockey captain Magreth Mengo, retired Brave Warriors captain Ronald Stigga Ketjijere and former Brave Warriors head coach and local football great Ricardo Mannetti were appointed as the country’s four ambassadors on the list.
Former Botswana national team player Diphetogo Selolwane, Jerome Ramatlhakwane, Bonang Otlhagile and Kefilwe Modisaotsile have been chosen as the ambassadors from the Botswana side.
The role of the ambassadors is to, amongst others, assist with raising awareness on the bid, communicate the positive social change and legacy the 2027 Afcon will leave in both Botswana and Namibia, and share and promote Afcon values.
They will also assist in the lobbying process and for those with the requisite skills, conduct coaching and/or training in selected countries around the continent as part of the bid legacy.
Mamelodi also shared that revised budgets have been presented to the governments of both countries and that the appointment of a lead consultant to spearhead the facilities audit exercise will soon be finalised and announced in the coming
A former Fifa regional development officer, Mamelodi stressed that there is an urgent need to fast-track and conclude the facilities audit exercise, as that will provide for the natural flow of all other activities around the bid.
He said the two countries face tough competition from Morocco and Senegal, who have also shown serious interest in hosting the same Afcon edition and, therefore, they will need to bring their A-game when they present their bid to Caf.
“It is very important that we fast-track and finish the facilities audit exercise because that will make it very much easier for us as a working committee, and it will also provide a clear picture to both governments on how to proceed going forward. So, I am quite happy that the process is now taking shape, and soon we will have the facilities audit exercise out of the way so that real work can begin. Morocco is there and they are serious about hosting these events and speaking of facilities, they have top-class facilities and that means we need to up our game,” he said.
Mamelodi added that they were still in the dark as to when Caf will open the bids for Afcon 2027 and when they will share the requirements for hosting the tournament.
Namibia currently has no Caf/Fifa-approved stadiums available, which has seen the country’s national teams playing their home matches in South Africa as a result of the downgraded stadiums. Botswana, on the other hand, has three facilities that need refurbishment to meet Caf standards and a fourth stadium might need to be built should they want to bolster their 2027 Afcon bid.