All roads lead to Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown on Thursday (March 25) where the Zebras will host neighbours from the North, the Warriors of Zimbabwe in a crucial 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier.
Multitudes will be glued to their television screens where Botswana Television (Btv) will be beaming the game Live alongside sister broadcaster Radio Botswana. Such service will come in handy because spectators will not be allowed to sit in the stands due to social distancing restrictions imposed by COVID-19 protocols.
The BFA medical committee have assured the nation that they are prepared to ensure adherence to COVID-19 health protocols during the Botswana and Zimbabwe game. Aldrin Majaye was quoted saying they learnt a lot from the previous game against Zambia and are now well equipped for the upcoming game.
Last Thursday Botswana Football Association (BFA) held a meeting in Francistown to provide updates on preparations for the AFCON encounter. Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairperson, Fanyana Fish said proper preparation are necessary to prepare for any unforeseen incidents such as power cuts during the game. Superintendent Edward Leposo of Tati police said Botswana Police Service would assign 25 security personnel of which four would be responsible for escorts while the rest would provide security at the stadium. “We came up with this number after considering that there will be no spectators. We have assigned three of our vehicles for escorting the match commissioner and the two teams,” he added.
BFA’s Carlos Sebina emphasised the importance of having accurate figures of all the individuals from different stakeholders who will be taking part in preparations and management of different aspects of the football match before, during and after the game.
In accordance with COVID-19 protocols, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has prescribed only a limited number of officials at the game. “A doctor, nurses, an ambulance and paramedics will be assigned to be at the stadium and assist accordingly,” said District Health Management Team official, Aldrid Ramaje.
The Obed Itani Chilume stadium will be divided into four zones being the stands, players’ zone, control rooms as well as the parking lot. Zones one and two are to be tested for COVID-19 through the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method where swabs would be used to collect respiratory material from either the nose or the throat. All gates are to be locked to restrict movements between the assigned zones, except the one on the west.