Namibia has a Lot to Offer for African Nations Cup

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Namibia will present its African Nations Cup 2010 Bid on Sunday in Cairo, Egypt. The land of the Brave is up against Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in Southern Africa, while other competitors are Nigeria, Senegal and Libya, as well as Gabon and Equatorial Guinea who have submitted a joint bid. Namibia will be hoping to be one of the three or four countries to be short-listed to host the biggest showpiece on the continent in 2010. Hosting the competition is definitely no small challenge. It is a big test for any country that will be selected as the destination for the 2010 African Nations Cup finals. From closer inspection, Namibia appears to have met most of the criteria set by the Confederation of African Football’s technical evaluation committee. The first criterion the technical committee will consider is the zonal distribution of previous competitions. The African Nations cup was only hosted once in Southern Africa – by South Africa in 1996. However, the competition has been hosted numerous times especially in west and north Africa. The finals were in north Africa, i.e. Egypt this year and will be in west Africa, Ghana in 2008. Maybe it is about time that a southern African country is given an opportunity again in 2010. Another aspect the CAF technical committee will consider is the government guarantee, since most football associations depend heavily on government financial support to host the tournament. The Namibian government fully backs the bid and the presence of the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture John Mutorwa is testimony of the Namibian government’s commitment. Another aspect is linguistics. Considering that only Namibia and Zimbabwe use English as the official language, this puts us in a good position compared to our counterparts like Angola and Mozambique, who are Portuguese speaking. Almost 50 percent of the teams and their fans that usually qualify for the nations cup finals speak English, while Portuguese is mainly spoken only in two countries on the continent. The organisational ability of Namibia is also a plus point. Although Namibia has never held a sport competition of the magnitude of the African Cup of Nations or World Cup, it has successfully hosted the Cosafa finals, Four Nations tournaments as well as the 1995 Miss Universe Beauty Pageant. The country’s political and economic stability is also a plus. Our good and growing infrastructure puts us in a comfortable position to cope with the demands of hosting the tournament. Over the last 10 years, Namibia has seen visitors streaming in from countries such as Angola, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa, Congo and Zimbabwe because of our outstanding road, rail and air infrastructure. The only minus point for Namibia is our footballing status. Since Namibia’s impressive performance in Burkina Faso, there has been a downward slide in the CAF rankings. However, if Namibia is granted the opportunity to host the finals, this could be the right thing to propel Namibian football to its former greater heights. The Brave Warriors can draw inspiration from South Korea and Japan who became football giants after being granted the right to host the 2002 World Cup Finals. South Africa’s success in 1996 could mainly be attributed to the fact that South Africa was the host nation and were duty bound to succeed. The fact that Namibia’s neighbours, South Africa will be hosting the 2010 World Cup Finals puts the icing on the cake. Africa’s world cup finalists in 2010 could use African Nations Cup finals in Namibia as the perfect preparations for the world cup finals. The Namibian climate, altitude and culture are very similar to South Africa and teams can use the opportunity for pre-tournament practice before the world cup finals. Last but not least, we have dispatched a formidable team under Dr Sam Nujoma, Hage Geingob, Frank Fredericks and others into battle. This makes us even more hopeful that the Land of the Brave shall be accorded the honour to host Africa’s prestigious sporting event.