I am super excited to return to blogging for you this year and share my knowledge of the beautiful game with Namibia’s finest lager, Tafel Lager.
This month, walk with me as I take you on my dream of our beautiful land and the possibility of us hosting the African Cup of Nations. Most African Nations dream of that moment when the name is called the host of Africa’s largest soccer tournament.
However, complying with the bidding process for such a humongous event requires enormous financial investment and a clear strategic plan. Among the many requirements, the pivotal assurance a country has to offer is the infrastructure in terms of the quality of stadia, transport networks, accommodation facilities and most importantly, security.
Namibia is s currently ranked as one of the best in road infrastructure in Africa, so we have that in check. These play to our advantage with the added benefit of peace and stability. The proposal being toiled with is to co-host with our equally stable and safe sister-country, Botswana. This really could become a reality. Let me come down to earth, and let’s talk about the practicalities for a moment.
However, the major challenge is that the required stadia to co-host should at least be two for the matches and six other stadia dedicated to teams’ training. This will be the largest huddle that I foresee, which means Namibia must sweat to its boots.
The Namibian national team was banned from playing Football or hosting any FIFA and CAF matches at the home of Namibian Football, Sam Nujoma stadium and the Independence stadium, which has been left to dilapidate, as they have failed the FIFA minimum requirement and standards. That’s problem number 1.
Quite recently, the Namibian Ministry of Finance budgeted 50 million Namibian Dollars towards the upgrading and maintaining of the Independence Stadium, which is a move in the right direction. The City of Windhoek have funds to upgrade the Sam Nujoma Stadium, and if such primacies are put clearly before the Council, the city will benefit incalculably from hosting such an event, as these stadiums can be used for other financially profitable events after the tournament, but I digress.
According to my research, CAF says a stadium should have a capacity of around 20 000 to 30 000, which is easy for large population countries like South Africa, Egypt, and Cameroon, to name a few. What does this mean for two countries that share a total population of less than half of the people of Gauteng Province? Tricky, but doable.
What does this mean for Soccer administrators and stakeholders of the game? We must come together and genuinely start putting things in place to make this a reality, engage with our brothers and sisters across the border to put a strong bid together. We must look further than our capital cities Windhoek and Gaborone and leverage the power of tourism and our vast open spaces, so image a world-class stadium in Swakopmund or Katima, and if you know Bostwana well, we can have another stadium in Maun, the only challenge is what will happen to the beautiful stadia when the final whistle of the tournament goes off. Many host exhibition matches and keep the relationship of Soccer and Tourism alive, again, just my dream…
The NFA hosted the Women’s African Nation Cup in October 2014 and hosted the COSAFA tournament in 2016. Successfully, the history, learnings and experience of those events will play a vital role in Namibia’s chance of co-hosting the most excellent showpiece on the African continent in 2027. CAF has already raised the prize money for the winners of the 2022 AFCON in Cameroon to 5 million USD from the previous amount of 4 million USD. The hope is that we will see a serious increase in this figure, as the Budget from CAF to host such an event will increase as well.
Countries that have hosted such events have benefited a lot in the past, as those stadiums are still in use, thus contributing towards the improvement of local Football. It can be done if the Sports Commission, The NFA, the Minister of Sports and counterparts across the border see the worth. Such an event could be possible.
Both countries already have a great capacity of accommodation, transport infrastructure, safety and flights for teams between the two countries easy and less than 2 hours each way, by road, the border control is the easiest in Africa, and the people have too many similarities, we are one.
Maybe Tafel Lager will become the anchor beer sponsor of the tournament like we see in West Africa. Perhaps we get to see Sam Nujoma Stadium roar back into life, experience Botswana in a new way, maybe enjoy thrillers seeing Mo Salah, Mane and Shalulile in action. This is just a dream, but like every dream, once you put it into action, it can come true, and Tafel Lager is the brand that believes in all Namibians to do just that. Maybe it’s the brand to propose this and make it happen. It’s just my dream.
After all, what’s life without a dream.
Until next time, I am your Blogger, Tate Olsen Kahiriri. I am out!!!