By Kuvee Kangueehi WINDHOEK NAMIBIA’S 2010 AFCON bid campaign was officially launched yesterday in the capital. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture Peingonndjabi Shipoh presented the campaign to members of the business community, media and football fraternity at the Furstenhof Hotel. Introducing the campaign, Shipoh said he believes that Namibia can host the African showpiece because the country has first world infrastructure. The permanent secretary noted that Namibia has safe stadiums, a quality hospitality sector, road and rail networks as well as good airports with local and international connections. The former TransNamib Chief Executive Officer added that Namibia also has the “first time hosting preference” as previous competitions were hosted mostly in northern and western Africa. At the presentation Shipoh claimed that it would cost Namibia “relatively low to host the tournament”. He noted that the stadiums only need to be upgraded and that the bilateral agreements for infrastructure development assistance will also benefit Namibia. Touching on the aspect of spectators, Shipoh said Namibia is accessible to many countries in the region and the Trans-Kalahari and Trans-Caprivi highways connect Namibia with its neighbours such as Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia and Southern Angola. He noted that the Western and Northern Cape is geographically also close to Namibia. The highlight of Shipoh’s presentation was that Namibia could also position itself strategically for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and Namibia could be used for friendly games and acclimatization for teams. “The bid if successful could lead to job creation, foreign earning potential, investment in the hospitality sector, merchandising beverages.” He added that other sectors such as banking, telecommunications, travel, transport, arts and crafts would also benefit. Namibia together with Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe are the four football federations from Southern Africa who forwarded their interests in hosting the 2010 African Nations Cup (AFCON), months before the whole world paid attention to the historic gathering of 2010 in South Africa. However, the COSAFA football federations will have to contest with the Super Eagles, Nigeria’s football governing body where the joint bid of Equatorial Guinea and Gabon will also hinder the Southern African countries in their quest to host the continental soccer showpiece prior to South Africa’s world cup reception. A total of seven single bids and one joint bid for the hosting of the final tournament of the African Nations Cup in 2010 were handed over to CAF before the closing date that was fixed for Monday 31 October 2005. Senegal and Libya also put in their campaign bids, although not so well crafted. Nigeria wants to use the hosting of the 2010 Nations Cup as a stepping-stone for hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFA) has twice successfully hosted the Nations Cup, first in 1980 when they lifted the cup and then in 2000 when they co-hosted with Ghana.
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