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By: Andrew Kathindi

Cabinet has approved, in principle, the joint bid to co-host the 36th or 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals tournament.

Botswana approached Namibia with an ambitious proposal to host the Afcon in five years with the aim of bringing the competition back to the SADC region. The tournament was last hosted in southern Africa in 2013 in South Africa and Angola for the 2010 edition.

Ivory Coast will host Afcon next year.

According to cabinet, the deal in principle with Botswana will be on a 60-40 formula, with Namibia bearing 40 per cent of the costs and associated benefits.

Cabinet has mandated the sports ministry to enter into a co-bidding and host agreement with Botswana’s ministry of youth empowerment, sport and culture development on behalf of government.

Cabinet further authorised the sports ministry to make a budgetary provisions requirement from 2022/2023 until 2026/2027, in the event the bidding process is successful.

According to cabinet, private financing may also be considered to undertake this project with government support through donations, sponsorships and public-private partnerships (PPPs).

It is, as yet, unclear how much the sports ministry will dedicate to this project. The sports ministry was one of the biggest losers in the 2022/2023 national budget, with fiscus allocating a meagre N$330 million.

Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi last month allocated an additional N$50 million to rescue the Independence Stadium in Windhoek.

However, according to the sports ministry, it needs around N$98 million to refurbish the Independence Stadium. The dilapidated nature of the national stadium has forced Namibia’s national football team, the Brave Warriors, to play their international games in South Africa.

According to media reports, South Africa had to cough up R461 million to host the 2013 Afcon, with each host city spending nearly R20 million. Cameroon spent 13 billion Central African CFA franc (N$348 million) to host the 2021 edition.

Last month, sports deputy minister Emma Kantema-Gaomas undertook a trip with ministry staff to Cameroon during the games.

“I sanctioned the trip to Cameroon after our neighbours, Botswana, who have approached Namibia with a suggestion to co-host the 2027 African Cup Of Nations, revealed they were sending a strong delegation to Cameroon to try and canvas support for the tournament to be potentially hosted by Namibia and Botswana”, sports minister Agnes Tjongarero stated.

Along with her assistant Ricardo Goagoseb, the deputy minister recently went to Cameroon on invitation from the President of the Confederation of African Football Patrice Motsepe on sports development and cooperation mission.

Julia Heita

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