Afcon a big ask for struggling economy

HARARE - Recent proclamations of Zimbabwe’s intention to bid for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations have generated tremendous interest in the country, but left question marks over our preparedness to host African football’s greatest showpiece in two years’ time.

Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here.

Telling ourselves that we can host the Afcon finals in two years is one thing.

Convincing the Confederation of African Football (Caf) is another.

The weakest part of Zimbabwe’s bid appears to be a severe lack of appreciation by those clamouring for the tournament of what exactly is needed in order to be awarded the right to host a tournament of Afcon’s magnitude.

Caf must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt of the level of infrastructure and organisational abilities towards the three-week competition.

They must be thoroughly convinced of our commitment to put the necessary resources, in two years, to build four stadia as well as several training grounds, to meet up with the organisational needs of the tournament.

As we speak, none of our football grounds meet the required standards. Our football infrastructure is terribly outmoded.

At the very least, two of our stadiums come remotely close, but requiring some significant facelift.

A tournament like Afcon generates international media interest, so press facilities within the stadiums themselves are obligatory.

Here, we are talking about press areas complete with WiFi and work stations for deadline-pressured reporters to file instantly to their different organisations around the world.

Let’s not make the mistake of confusing Afcon with the other smaller sporting events we have hosted before.

Being awarded the Afcon is a vote of confidence in a country’s stability and economic capabilities.

In this regard, there are key problems Zimbabwe still has to tackle in order to make the tournament a success, if given to us in the first place.

First, there is the cost. Flights from Europe are extortionate — from around $1 200 to fly from London.

Hotel rooms are not too much of a challenge here, but the biggest issue is the roads, which have taken a battering over the years due to a transport network system created for a smaller driving population decades ago.

The conclusion is that Zimbabwe — to successfully bid — need a massive budget running into several millions of dollars.

We should weigh options whether this is a top priority during these hard economic times.


Comments (3)

There is only one priority in this country that is to mend the economy and not fool ourselves with an expensive tournament, why should we try to wonder in other waters whilst we are still in the dip-end.

G Sibangani - 19 September 2014

Zimbabwe should definitely bid for the hasting of the 2017 tournament. Hosting AFCON 2017 will do a lot of good to the country's international image. Logon to and make some cash Registration is free

harriet - 21 September 2014

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