HomeSportAthleticsAU Region V Youth Games: Plenty work on facilities

AU Region V Youth Games: Plenty work on facilities

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THIS YEAR’S edition of the African Union Sports Region V Under-20 Youth Games will be hosted by Bulawayo in December.

Fortune Mbele
Sports Reporter

Bulawayo will be a hive of activity in December when 15 countries are expected to be in the City of Kings for the biennial games which were won by South Africa in 2012.

Initially, 12 countries that included Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, Malawi, Lesotho, Botswana, Mozambique, Angola, Swaziland, the Seychelles and Mauritius were said to take part, but three more Tanzania — the Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar — will be added on.

Its seven months before the games roar into life and the government of Zimbabwe has made a commitment to hosting the continental youth games.

What has been worrying is that little or nothing has been done to date to refurbish facilities that will host the games to spruce up Bulawayo for the impending games.

At the beginning of last month, Local organising committee (LOC) chief executive officer Henry Manzungu said work was expected to start soon, but nobody knows when soon is.

All that has been seen are tours of facilities by government officials.

Manzungu on Friday referred questions to the LOC chairman Charles Dzimba, based in Gweru.

Dzimba said there was no timeframe when the refurbishment would start, but said anytime soon as the tender process was about to be finalised.

“The tender process is coming to an end and then we will have people on site. Refurbishment will start soon, but there is not time frame.

“The funds will be made available in stages,” he said.

Dzimba said all that had been explained by the deputy chief secretary to the President and Cabinet Ray Ndlukula at a press briefing in Bulawayo on Thursday.

Manzungu last month said they expected to hand over the facilities by end of September and funds were being handled by the government and all the LOC would have to do was to check on the progress of the work.

After the Sadc Ministers of Sports ministers attended the Africa Union Sports Council meeting in Bulawayo in November last year, the country’s Sports minister Andrew Langa toured the Bulawayo facilities, followed by his permanent secretary Thokozile Chitepo and Ndlukula in January.

The Senior Minister of State in the President’s Office, Simon Khaya Moyo, also toured the venues early this month and on Thursday, Vice-President Joice Mujuru was due to tour the facilities, but for want of time, she could not.

The facilities include the National University of Science and Technology (Nust), Barbourfields Stadium, Luveve Stadium, White City Stadium, Hillside Teachers’ College, Bulawayo City Pool and the Bulawayo Athletic Club.

The government secured $34 million for the construction of three hostels at Nust which will house 622 athletes each and would help alleviate accommodation problems at the institution after the games.

The Sport, Arts and Culture ministry said the budget had been set at $46 million with $36 million going towards infrastructure and $10 million for operational costs and early this month the games received a $1 million boost from Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe.

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