SPORT, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa yesterday said preparations for the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games to be held in Bulawayo in December are well on schedule.
Updating ambassadors of participating countries on the progress of the preparations at a function held at a local hotel in the capital, Langa said he expects most of the work to be completed by the end of September.
The Region 5 Games are developmental Games held biannually in member countries on rotational basis and will be held in Bulawayo from December 5 to 14.
“The refurbishment of venues is progressing well with the government anticipating handing over the venues to the organising committee on September 30. I’m pleased to advise you that the government is committed to the successful hosting of the Games.
The government has committed itself to the refurbishment of infrastructure, hostel accommodation and the general preparations for the Games,” Langa said.
The countries that are under the Region 5 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 (DRC), Tanzania, Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles have since confirmed their availability.
The ambassadors that were in attendance 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 which is chaired by Senior Minister in the Office of the President Simon Khaya Moyo was set up to specifically maintain a dashboard approach in monitoring the progress of the Games.
A working party of permanent secretaries of 12 ministries led by the deputy chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Ray Ndhlukula also closely monitors the progress of the Games at national level.
Langa said: “Zimbabwe is not only going to reach for greatness in hosting the most successful and memorable Games ever, but will also go an extra mile to reach for greatness in preparing and fielding a strong Team Zimbabwe that will amass gold medals at the Games.”
Reach for Greatness is the theme for this year’s Games.
Langa implored the ambassadors to work with his ministry and the local organising committee as the Games would help the whole region.
The Games will comprise eight sporting codes which are football, netball, basketball, tennis, boxing, judo, swimming and athletics.