THE African Union Sports Council Region V Under-20 Youth Games LOCal organising committee (LOC) has pledged its commitment towards meeting the November 15 deadline set by the regional organising committee (ROC) to hand over the venues for the games.
Speaking after their tour of the games village Hillside Teacher’s College, the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair basketball and judo venues and the command centre at the Bulawayo Polytechnic, LOC chairperson Khonzani Ncube said they were working towards the deadline.
“We are embracing the recommendations that we were given by the regional organising committee. We are going to meet the deadlines and we are very much on track,” she said.
ROC secretary Mvuzo Mbebe said everyone save for Team Zimbabwe should have been vetted and accredited by November 28.
“We expect everyone in Zimbabwe to forward their accreditation by November 15. They will have to go through the normal vetting systems and it is not an open-ended accreditation. By November 28 everyone else should be accredited except Team Zimbabwe,” said Mbebe.
He said Zimbabwe was prepared for hosting the games, but said there were a few adjustments and touch-ups to be done before the venues were handed over to ROC.
“We have been to Hillside Teacher’s College for the accommodation which is likely to be ready in about 10 days,” Mbebe said.
“The dining hall which will have about 350 athletes at a time is ready although there will be adjustments to have an additional 150.
“There are also minor adjustments to be done in the kitchen but these should not take more than seven days.”
Mbebe, who was also the local organising committee chief executive officer for the African Nations Championship (Chan), said construction of changing rooms for basketball and judo at the ZITF had started and they could be done earlier than November 15.
“The basketball change rooms are being done now. They will be done on time and should be completed by November 1. There is no reason why Zimbabwe should not host these games,” he said.
The regional body toured some of the venues on Tuesday and highlighted their concerns, especially White City Stadium which is falling behind in terms of refurbishment.
The tartan track for both the main events and the warm-up track are still to be laid, the lawn yet to be planted and the dressing rooms still need adjustments, among other things. Mbebe again highlighted his concern yesterday, but said they were confident that the contractor would have completed the job and moved out of the site by November 15.
“We are now focusing on other aspects such as the marketing of the games and the logistics. We have already signed the contracts for the hotel accommodation for the guests,” he said.
A total of 11 countries are expected to take part in the games which will be held on December 5-14 in Bulawayo.