Govt supports AFCON, Cricket World Cup, AUSC bids

• By Michael Uugwanga

BOTH the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service and that of Finance have indicated that they will fully support the country’s quest to co-host the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games in 2026; and the Cricket World Cup in 2027.

Last month sport executive director Dr Audrin Mathe stated that Namibia and Botswana are contemplating co-hosting the 2027 AFCON tournament, even though the idea is still at its early stages.

While, last November the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that Namibia will co-host the ICC Men’s World Cup in 2027, together with neighbouring South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) submitted in its framework to the Ministry of Sport a fortnight ago regarding the possibility of hosting the AUSC games.

Hosting such top competitions will mean that the government and corporate world will need to fork out millions of dollars, something that the government says it is fully aware of.

If it is successful, this will be the first time that Namibia would host AFCON, after its 2010 bid to host the continental tournament failed and was awarded to neighbouring country, Angola.

On the bid to co-host AFCON, the decision can only be approved by cabinet, while on the co-hosting of the Cricket World Cup, the Ministry of Sport is yet to pronounce itself even though it has received the letter from Cricket Namibia regarding the hosting of the event.

“The ministry once again confirms that it has received an offer from the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development of the Republic of Botswana for the two countries to jointly bid to co-host the 36th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2027.

“In this regard, the ministry has no further comment until such a time Cabinet has pronounced itself on the offer,” said Mathe.

“The Ministry has received a letter from Cricket Namibia that ICC has named Cricket Namibia as co-host, with South Africa and Zimbabwe, of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2027. The Ministry will update the nation on this matter in due course,” he added.

The last time Namibia hosted the AUSC Region 5 games was in 2006, which was also the second edition since its inception in 2004 in Maputo, Mozambique.

AUSC Region 5 tournament is hosted every year with the last edition held in Lesotho, while the next edition will be hosted this year in Malawi.

In 1999 the AUSC Region 5 Council of Ministers agreed that the hosting of the games shall be compulsory and rotational, and shall be on the basis of the chairmanship.

Thus the country whose minister is the chairperson of the AUSC Region 5 council of ministers shall host the games.

“With respect to the African Union Sport Council Region 5 Youth Games, it is mandatory for Namibia to host these games in 2026 as part of the country’s obligations of being a member of AUSC Region 5,” explained Mathe.

The Ministry of Finance on the other hand has said that at this stage it is yet to receive the needed amount on the hosting of the AFCON, World Cup and AUSC Region 5 showcase.

“The Ministry of Sport, Youth, and National Service as they are the custodian of sport in Namibia, and they are the focal point of these discussions thus they will have sufficient information to share. Based on information available with regards to funding, the discussions are still at their initial stage thus no amount has been committed yet,” said Wilson Shikoto, chief public relations officer in the Ministry of Finance.