Botswana to host COSAFA Cup
By Bakang Mhaladi
GABORONE – Botswana will host the next edition of the COSAFA Castle Cup in 2018 after the government agreed to tinker its position on alcohol advertising in sports.
The government has in the past barred alcohol-producing companies from sponsoring sports events.
In 2015, Botswana was on course to host the COSAFA Castle Cup, but the government’s position on alcohol meant the deal fell through.
However, Botswana’s Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng this week told the media that the government has given the COSAFA Castle Cup hosting the green light.
“As part of our commitment to grow sport through participation and exposure, I am pleased to inform you that next year, we are going to host the COSAFA Castle Cup here in Gaborone.
“Let us all prepare for it as early as now. Sports in our country is growing in leaps and bounds. Thank you so much for always rallying behind our teams of different codes,” Olopeng said.
He said he tabled the idea before his cabinet colleagues and pushed for the hosting, which was duly granted.
The minister is now expected to continue lobbying the government to relax its position on alcohol advertising in sports.
“You find that at times it’s only the companies in the liquor industry who are prepared to sponsor. We cannot turn them away. I recently attended the Carling Cup in South Africa at the invitation of Bobby Motaung, I never saw a lot of alcohol advertising during the game,” Olopeng said.
It would be the first time for Botswana to host the senior COSAFA tournament after organizing the Under-20 tournament in 2011, which was sponsored by Metropolitan then.
Botswana’s national team, the Zebras, will hope that hosting the competition would open doors for a first title.