President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has extolled Botswana’s efforts in putting the bid to host the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2027 finals.
Botswana lost the bid to host the continental football showpiece and the hosting rights were given to PAMOJA, a joint bid of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
President Masisi, who was addressing a press conference in Gaborone September 28 following his external visits, said Botswana’s bid committee performed exceptionally well and government had no regret in putting the bid in.
“We wanted it badly but you know in is a contest there are some who get it and some who don’t, do we regret it? No, we have no regret as Botswana government for putting our bid in. We spent the money well,” he said.
He said Botswana had a wonderful bid book that was submitted to the continent’s football governing body CAF. The bid book outlined cost estimations for all infrastructure upgrades.
President Masisi said government would not build stadia and related facilities as planned but had the biggest budget on infrastructure in history of about P21billion which would help in fine tuning some infrastructure.
“We learnt a lot, we also had a wonderful bid book. You must interrogate it, critique it and cherish it. The other reason we don’t regret is that we are now known more than we were known,” he added.
Dr Masisi said he was intrigued that the main focus after the announcement of Botswana losing the bid was on how Botswana did not win it.
He said hosting the AFCON finals would have supported the country’s aspirations of the recently developed MICE strategy.
Botswana was confident of winning the bid to host the AFCON finals. This followed CAF assessment of some facilities in identified hosts venues such as Francistown, Lobatse and Gaborone among others.
The bid committee which descended in Cairo to receive the bad news on Wednesday was confident that they had put their best foot forward and left a lasting impression on CAF inspectors who visited.