CONSTRUCTION of venues for the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games has been completed and the local organising committee (LOC) says they are awaiting the regional organising committee (ROC) to hand over the facilities. THANDIWE MOYO SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
The LOC had been given a deadline of November 15 to complete the refurbishment of the stadia and facilities to be used during the December 5 to 14 games in Bulawayo.
The games will be opened by President Robert Mugabe.
However, a visit to the stadiums showed that White City, which the regional organising committee had cited as one of the worrying areas, was still lagging behind.
The tartan track is still to be laid, the grass which was planted a couple of weeks ago is still not ready while work is still to be completed on the netball courts.
White City Stadium will host athletics and netball although work on the dressing rooms for athletics is complete.
Work is also still to be completed on the warm-up pitch which is outside the stadium and floodlights which the ROC recommended to be erected.
The contractor at White City had been told by ROC to make way for jump pits and make a few adjustments to the VIP area.
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Luveve Stadium, which will host football, is also yet to be completed though work on the VIP area, changing rooms, drainage system and turf is almost done with the final touch ups being made.
Barbourfields Stadium, which only had a few areas to be worked on when the regional committee toured on October 21, is nearly complete.
The stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies.
The Bulawayo Swimming Pool, which also needed adjustments, is still to be completed although the length of the 25mx25m pool has been done with the tiling taking place while work on the 50m pool continues.
Bulawayo Athletic Club for tennis is complete.
LOC chairperson Khonzani Ncube said: “We have finished work at the facilities. We are waiting for ROC to confirm when they are coming so that we hand over the facilities.
“At White City Stadium they have been working flat out and we know that the equipment (tartan track) is already in the country. In the next couple of days it will be laid.”.
She said they hoped by Wednesday next week work at the stadium would have been completed.
“ We will host the games well and we have about 16 days left to put the final touches and do a dry run,” she said.
“We also have to make sure that the facilities are up to standard and have the correct specifications.”
She said there were no changes to the number of countries coming for the games and that the protocol department was working on their itinerary.
Bulawayo, which is the country’s second-largest city, will host Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Seychelles, Swaziland and Zambia as well as locals from the country’s 10 provinces.
About 1 500 athletes and officials are expected at the games and they will be housed at Hillside Teachers’ College.