Region 5 Youth Games likely to be delayed

By Michael Uugwanga

LEADERS of the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region Five held a council of ministersvirtual conference meeting last week via skype, where the coronavirus pandemic was top of the agenda and numerous resolutions were taken, such as the possible postponement of the Youth Games and an increase in the annual subscription fees of member states.

AUSC Region 5 consists of ten member states, including Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Swaziland, with the main aim of the organisation being to use sport to achieve peace, integration and unity in Africa and as a way to encourage people to develop and come together, irrespective of colour, economic status, political, class, or gender.

AUSC Region 5 troika consists of Lesotho MP Dr Mahali Phamotse, Malawian MP Francis Phiso and  Botswana’s  MP Tumiso Rakgare, while Namibia’s former director of sport in the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service Dr Vetumbuavi Veii, who is Region 5 executive committee chairperson, George Jana, the vice-chairperson of the committee, chief executive committee in the communication Stanley Mutoya and Dr Antonio Gomes, sports development technical commission chair were also part of the virtual meeting.

Lesotho are due to host the 2020 Region 5 Youth Games in December, but the council of ministers is yet to make a final decision on whether the games should go ahead or be postponed to next year, depending on the trajectory and scale of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the unlikely event the pandemic continues by July 2020, a decision [should] be made to consider postponement of the games to April/May 2021 under the same conditions in Lesotho, and that the 2022 Games scheduled for Malawi remain unchanged. In the meantime, Lesotho is encouraged to continue preparing for the hosting of the Games.

“Due to the magnitude of the pandemic, and the fact that governments are mobilising resources towards the fight against the spread of the virus, the date of payment of the first 50 percent of participation fees be deferred to 1 July 2020 and final payment be expected by 1 October 2020 to allow countries enough time to mobilise resources in the wake of recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The regional organising committee for the Region 5 Youth Games ensure that Lesotho provides the strictest hygiene and clean environment for the Games, to avoid any health epidemic outbreaks,” Reads the statement.

Member states were also briefed about the increase in fees, despite the world being hit hard by the economic crisis due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Given the exposure of the region to financial risk and in an effort to mitigate such and ensure sustainability of the organisation, the annual subscription fees be reviewed upwards from U$20 000 (N$359 200) per year to U$25 000 (N$449 000) per year with effect from 2021,” Continued the statement.