THE government is expected to spend $42 million upgrading sports facilities in Bulawayo following Tuesday’s Cabinet approval for the City of Kings to host the Africa Zone VI 2014 Games next December.
REPORT BY FORTUNE MBELE
Through Education, Sport, Arts and Culture minister David Coltart the Zimbabwean government signed a protocol agreement last year to host the Supreme Council of Sport in Africa (SCSA) Zone VI 2014 Under-20 Youth Games which are held under the auspices of the African Union.
Zimbabwe was then selected to host the games, which are held biennially with the aim of developing sport in the Sadc region.
Coltart yesterday confirmed in a statement that Cabinet has approved that the City of Kings hosts the games.
“It was up to Zimbabwe to choose the host city for these games and two were in contention, namely Harare and Bulawayo. I am pleased to announce that Cabinet on 21st May 2013 unanimously agreed to accept my proposal that the 2014 Zone VI.
Under-20 games be held in Bulawayo. I should stress that this decision enjoyed support from all three parties to the inclusive government and I am grateful for the support given to my proposal in particular by His Excellency President Robert Mugabe, Vice-President Joice Mujuru, Right Honourable Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, minister Welshman Ncube and minister of Finance Tendai Biti,” Coltart said.
A Games Village will be established at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) and that construction is set to ease the institute of higher learning’s current accommodation crisis after the games, the minister said.
“The major negative point against Bulawayo being able to host the Games was the absence of a suitable Games Village to house the 4 000 athletes. However, it was argued that the Games provided a unique opportunity to address the lack of residential accommodation at Nust which, at present, can only accommodate 32 students although it has a student body of several thousands. Accordingly, a key component of the decision is the construction of halls of residences at the National University of Science and Technology which will be used as the Games Village. The Games Village will be sited on the Nust campus to accommodate over 4 000 young men and women sportspersons. After the Games have been concluded the Games Village will be handed over to Nust and will then provide residential accommodation for some 4 000 students with effect from January 2015. In addition, a wide variety of existing sports facilities in Bulawayo will be upgraded as is set out below. The total estimated investment by Government is the sum of $42 million, the bulk of which will be spent on the Games Village/Residences for Nust,” Coltart said.
Sporting disciplines that will be on offer at next year’s Sadc games are athletics, boxing, basketball, netball, tennis, swimming, football and judo.
Facilities that will be revamped include Barbourfields, White City and Luveve stadia.
Nust, the Bulawayo Polytechnic, Hillside Teachers’ College and various schools in the city that include Northlea High, Founders College, Evelyn Girls School, Milton High, Girls College and Dominican Convent will benefit from the facelift. Other facilities are ZRP Drill Hall, the Large City Hall, Bulawayo Club for the Blind, Raylton Sports Club, Bulawayo Athletic Club, Parirenyatwa Pool and ZRP Ross Camp.