By FOCUS REPORTER
BOTSWANA is the host country for the 2010 Metropolitan COSAFA U20 Youth Championship, which kicks off on Friday 3 December, culminating in the final on Sunday 12 December. University of Botswana and Molepolole will host the matches.
Competing Southern African countries include current title holders Zambia – who beat South Africa in a 1-0 close-fought final in Johannesburg in 2009 – as well as Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Malawi, Zambia, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius and South Africa. Comoros has indicated that they will not be participating.
Speaking at the draw, Mr Timothy Shongwe, Competitions Chairman for COSAFA, said that COSAFA was proud to partner with Metropolitan to bring the tournament to Botswana.
“COSAFA is a great platform to bring together people from different countries, languages and cultures in the name of fair sporting competition. We have full faith in the ability of the BFA and the stakeholders to create the perfect conditions for hosting our tournament and look forward to many exciting matches by the visiting teams. We are delighted to be able to bring the tournament to Botswana. Our goal is to host this tournament in as many COSAFA countries as we can, depending of course on resources and appetite of the local associations. May the best team win,” he said.
Oupa Mothibatsela, Managing Director of Metropolitan Botswana, said that he is excited to see the ‘beautiful game’ extended to the people of Botswana.
“Metropolitan is a proudly African company. We are looking forward to providing an opportunity for Botswana’s people to experience a world-class tournament first hand, and we invite as many people as possible to come and support their local team in what we believe will be a spectacular tournament.”
The company’s sponsorship of the COSAFA U20 Youth Championship started in 2006 in the North West Province, South Africa, and has subsequently been held in Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and Gauteng. The tournament bridges the gap between youth and senior levels and plays a crucial role in developing each region’s young footballers.
Mothibatsela says that Metropolitan’s sponsorship philosophy has always been about community development, with a focus on allocating resources to contribute to advancement.
He said that the company has been supporting development soccer for over 20 years across Africa, and sees the sport as much more than just a game, but rather a platform for community development and creating prosperity for Africa’s people.
“This tournament creates an opportunity for youngsters to hone and showcase their football talents on an international platform. Also, through attendance of Metropolitan’s lifeskills training workshops which cover HIV and AIDS, financial literacy and building personal brands – we arm them with skills that will allow them to achieve success not only on the field, but also in their lives.” he said.
“In addition, we work closely with government and communities to ensure that we not only produce a memorable championship, but also leave a positive legacy long after the final whistle blows. Our legacy is built through a range of activities such as supporting the local economy by procuring goods and services locally, as well as contributing to a local community development project that can teach the visiting teams about how Botswana finds its own resolutions to national challenges.”
The President of the Botswana Football Association, Mr David Fani said that they are investing time and resources in the organisation of the tournament. As the chairman of the Local Organising Committee, he is committed to his association delivering the highest standard of football administration and is looking forward to hosting a successful event. “We are pulling out all the stops to make this a memorable experience that showcases the best of football and the best of our country. We can’t wait to give our neighbours a warm Botswana welcome,” he said.