SPORT, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa yesterday said preparations for the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region V Under-20 Youth Games to be hosted by Bulawayo this December are well on schedule and expects the country to host the best-ever event.
Updating ambassadors of the participating countries on the progress of the preparations at a function held at a local hotel in Harare, Langa said he expected most of the work to be completed by the end of next month. AUSC Region V Under-20 Youth Games are developmental games held biannually in the African Union Sports Council member countries on a rotational basis and will be held in Bulawayo from December 5 to 14.
“The refurbishment of the venues is progressing well with the government anticipating handing over the venues to the regional organising committee on September 30. I’m pleased to advise you that the government of Zimbabwe is committed to the successful hosting of the games.
“The government of Zimbabwe has committed itself to the refurbishment of sport infrastructure, hostel accommodation and the general preparations for the games,” Langa said.
The countries that are under the Region V banner and would participate are Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
However, there would be additional five countries at the games with Langa saying the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles had also showed their willingness to take part and have since confirmed their availability.
The ambassadors who attended are Mawampanga Mwana Nanga (DRC), Pedro Hendrick Vaal Neto (Angola), Kenny Kinoitiro Kapinga (Botswana), Jane Ngineirwa Kambalame (Malawi), Pedor Jao de Azvedo Davane (Mozambique), Balbina Daes Pienaar (Namibia), Vusi Mavimbela (South Africa), Adid Mohammed Rajabu (Tanzania) and Ndiyoyi Mutiti of Zambia.
Langa said a Cabinet committee of eight ministers chaired by Senior Minister in the Office of the President Simon Khaya Moyo was set up to specifically monitor the progress of the Games.
A working party of permanent secretaries of 12 ministries led by deputy chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Ray Ndhlukula, closely monitors the progress of the games at national level.
“Zimbabwe is not only going to reach for greatness in hosting the most successful and memorable games ever, but will go an extra mile to reach for greatness in preparing and fielding a strong Team Zimbabwe that will amass gold medals at the Games,” the minister said.
“Reach for Greatness” is the theme for this year’s Games.
“While we acknowledge that significant progress has been made towards the successful hosting of the games, there is still room for improvement, suggestions and ideas are therefore most welcome,” he added.
Langa implored the ambassadors to work with his ministry and the local organising committee as the games would help the whole region.
“Yes, these games may be hosted by Zimbabwe, but they still remain the region’s property and should benefit us all.”
The games will comprise eight sporting codes which are football, netball, basketball, tennis, boxing, judo, swimming and athletics.