Ahead of the Tuesday World Cup qualifier match between Botswana and Eritrea to be hosted at the Francistown Sports Complex, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has already pressed panic buttons over the possibility of supporters invading the pitch as they did last month.
A worried BFA CEO Kitso Kemoeng flew into Francistown to implore relevant stakeholders in the city to assist in sensitising football fans about the dire consequences of invading a football pitch after a game. His plea comes on the backdrop of a recent incident in which excited Zebras fans invaded the pitch following their team’s victory over the Stallions of Burkina Faso. FIFA slapped the BFA with a fine of US$5 000, an equivalent of just over P50 000. “I accept that people did that out of excitement but such behavior should not be condoned as this time around the punishment might involve a deduction of points. The penalty amount could have been used to pay bonuses and appearance fees for players,” he said this Wednesday.
Kemoeng further explained why the game would be played on a week day rather than on a weekend, saying that FIFA gave Eritrea three days between October 8 and 10 to host the first leg while Botswana was given between October 11 and 13. With Eritrea choosing October 10, Botswana was forced to go further to October 13 to host the second leg to allow for time to rest between the two matches.“Initially, the game was expected to start at 1900hrs, but to avoid a clash with the seven o’clock television news, we are yet to make arrangements to shift the starting time of the game to 2000hrs,” he said. The BFA CEO also congratulated Francistown City authorities for a job well done during the past game against Burkina Faso.
Deputy Divisional Traffic commander North Pelontle Kesupile revealed that following the headaches caused by the traffic jam experienced in the last game at the stadium, they had decided to close the A3 road leading to Maun and Orapa. “Motorists travelling along the A3 road will be given free access to pass and no one attending the match will be allowed to park along the road. In fact, we have already made arrangements with the town council to put up no-parking signs along the road next to the Stadium to avoid traffic congestion.
Those who will ignore the sign will earn themselves a ticket of P1000,” he warned. As if that was not enough, the traffic boss revealed that after the game, all cars parked at the eastern side of the stadium will have to use Monarch road on their way out of the stadium whereas those parked at the western stands of the stadium will have to wait for the teams and VIPs to vacate the stadium before they are given a chance to also leave. As for alcoholic beverages, the police chief warned that whoever will be caught with beer will be detained in the holding cells available in the stadium. “Lastly, we will also deploy uniformed and plain clothed police officers to safe guard cars of football lovers from petty thieves who have made it a habit to deprive people of their valuables,” he said.