Covid-19 hit AUSC a success – Mutoya

• By Michael Uugwanga

AFTER initial doubts regarding the hosting of the just ended African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games that were held in Lesotho from December 3 to 12, the regional competition was described as a resounding success by its chief executive officer Stanley Mutoya.

Speaking at games closing ceremony at Setsoto Stadium in Maseru, Mutoya said they managed to overcome all odds by hosting successful and spectacular games.

“In 2002 Maseru hosted AUSC Region 5 Youth Games under difficult circumstances, but this year it hosted the games that nobody thought would be taking place due to Covid-19 and the pressure to host these games was mounting as many were calling for the abandonment of the games, including from the media and those on social media, however we managed to do the unthinkable and here we are, we managed it and we did it. 

“Even though the accommodation and transport was not the best, but we did it. This stadium can now host top international track and field events after hosting these games,” he said.

He also urged the athletes to break their own records in the future as many will not be eligible to take part in next year’s Region 5 in Malawi due to age limits.

“You need to break your own records. Be your own competitor.”

A total of 385 Covid-19 cases were recorded at the games, which prompted South Africa to leave the games few days before the closing ceremony.

Mutoya who has been at the helm as CEO of the youth games for 10 years, also announced that he is leaving the position but did not say exactly when he is stepping down.

“I have lots of memories as CEO I can say that this is my last dance with Region 5. I have achieved a lot in the last 10 years with Region 5. The executive members of Region 5 stood by me in the last 10 years,” said Mutoya.

Receiving the AUSC Region 5 Youth Games chairmanship council of ministers to host the next games, Malawi’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Ulemu Msungama told those at the closing ceremony confidently that his country was ready to host the best Region 5 games.

“As we are speaking now we have already started with indoor facilities. I can say that we are indeed going to have the best games,” he said. The Region 5 Youth Games were first slated for last year before the games were postponed to last month due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

AUSC Region 5 Youth Games is a competition for athletes under the age of 20 in multiple sport codes, with Namibia being a member of the games just like other regional countries such as Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Eswatini, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The next AUSC Region 5 Youth Games are slated for early December 2022 in Malawi.