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Botswana fails to reap benefits from Region 5 Games

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Region 5 action PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Botswana failed to take full advantage of opportunities presented by the hosting of the Region 5 Youth Games last December.

The 8th edition of the multi-discipline regional games was held in Gaborone, but a review of the competition, indicates that Botswana failed to capitalise on opportunities presented.

A closed door Region 5 technical organ meeting to evaluate the games, which was held in Gaborone over the weekend, said the country committed late to hosting the games, which could be attributed to failure to reap full benefits. Botswana’s major aim was to end up with a multi-purpose sport facility.

The African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 chief executive officer, Stanley Mutoya told Mmegi Sport after the meeting that the games’ aim is to assist countries to develop infrastructure. He said countries end up hiring from private service providers, which meant at the end there is no legacy that is left.

“I cannot respond as to what happened in Botswana regarding the legacy project. It is a national issue, which I am not qualified to respond to. From the regional point of view, how can we avoid such issues of lack of legacy in future where countries resort to using private facilities? Countries must start preparing early like Lesotho,” he said.

Mutoya said in Lesotho, which hosts the games in 2020, the Cabinet has sat and agreed on the refurbishment of facilities. He said early sign off and confirmation of games would help spread the capital expenditure budget so that it is not in one financial year. “Our countries are struggling and they cannot construct infrastructure within a short period of time. Botswana took a long time to sign the games agreement and the Local Organising Committee

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(LOC) found themselves with little time to deliver the games.

We must appreciate the amount of work they did in a short space of time,” Mutoya said. He said ministers have committed that countries must sign 36 months before the games. The Botswana LOC was in existence for six months and had nine months to deliver the games. Mutoya said plans are underway to sign with Malawi for the 2022 edition.

Mutoya said they are happy that Lesotho started preparations three years early, in 2018, after signing the protocol agreement in 2017. “We should stop compromising on the standards.

We did a lot of compromising which (in the end) affected the quality of the games. We have had flexibilities on time, regulations that led to challenges with competition schedule. We have changed on how we should deliver games village, which led to countries arriving and the games village not being ready for them,” he said.

He said they have been flexible on member states timelines of paying participation fees therefore compromising the delivery by the LOC. 

He said during the weekend evaluation meeting, there were three questions to answer, being what should they stop doing, what should they continue doing and what new things could be done in order to improve the games? “All our organs produce reports, which state what the plan was, what worked, what did not work and recommendations.

This meeting comes in handy because we are in the middle of preparing for Lesotho 2020. We have held two meetings already and the next one is in April in Lesotho,” he said.



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