Botswana 2026 World Cup was about money Bakang Mhaladi

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Bakang Mhaladi

Gaborone- Botswana Football Association (BFA) president Maclean
Letshwiti has revealed that financial benefits, and not politics, influenced
his country's decision to vote for the North American bid for the 2026
World Cup.
Botswana chose the joint Canada, Mexico and US bid over Morocco when
FIFA members voted for the 2026 World Cup hosts in Moscow last week
Wednesday.

Letshwiti had met Botswana President, Mokgweetsi Masisi
before flying out to cast his vote in Russia.
"It was entirely my decision. We looked at the bid that will benefit
football worldwide. We looked at the vision of FIFA. The (FIFA)
president spoke about financial stability; he spoke about development
and growing the women's game. All those, call for funding. We had to
look at marketing initiatives that bring revenue to FIFA," he said.
Nine other countries, including Namibia, Lesotho, Cape Verde, South
Africa, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Benin broke
rank with the rest of the continent, and instead, voted for the North
American bid.
There was speculation that voting was along political lines, with
countries that supported the independence of Western Sahara from
Morocco, deciding to vote for the North American bid.
Morocco is embroiled in a territorial conflict with the Western Sahara.
The Western Sahara is under Morocco's control, but its leader, the
president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Brahim Ghali is
drumming up support for independence.
In the run-up to the World Cup vote, Ghali made timeous visits to some
Southern African countries, which eventually rejected Morocco's bid.
Letshwiti said politics did not influence how he voted.
"We had to choose a bid, which is line with FIFA's vision and that was
the North American bid. It was not about (geographical) regions, but
the best bid," he said.
"You can even see that the majority of the associations agreed that
the American bid was the best."
With a projected profit of $11billion, Letshwiti said the American bid
made financial sense. Morocco had projected profits of $5billion.
Also, Letshwiti said the North American bid had scored higher on
technical assessment, at 4.5 out of five, while Morocco scored 2.5 out
of five.
At the end of the day, the North American bid prevailed with 134 votes
to Morocco's 65.

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