South Africa and Mozambique are yet to pay their debts arising from their participation at the Region 5 Youth Games Gaborone 2018. The two countries were given up to May 1, 2020 to make good of their obligations.
African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 chief executive officer, Stanley Mutoya told Mmegi Sport this week that the two countries were given up to May to settle the arrears.
He said they have received communication and evidence that both countries are keen to settle, but progress has been halted by the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Administrative work has been affected by the current COVID-19 lockdown, but we are satisfied that the matter is finally reaching its desired conclusion,” he said. Meanwhile, Mutoya confirmed that the 2020 Youth Games would go ahead as planned in Maseru, Lesotho in December. He said the internal political developments in Lesotho are not expected to affect the competition.
He added that Lesotho has the capacity to manage their affairs within the confines of their legislative and civil relations provisions as a sovereign state. “The government remains committed to delivering all its obligations and as a region we have no reason to doubt their goodwill at this stage. A Lesotho Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on the games was set up and is seized with matters regarding preparations and that is assuring for the region,” he said. Mutoya said they are in constant virtual meetings every fortnight wit the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and all preparations are continuing albeit under restrictive conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The ministers would meet again in July to further assess the situation. They would obviously consider all programmes including the Games and appropriate decisions would be made and pronounced. As things stand, the Games would be on as scheduled,” he said.
Mutoya said due diligence in response to COVID-19 their Health, Medical and Anti Doping Commissions have been tasked with devising responses that safeguard health and safety of all athletes, officials and spectators during the Games, adding that consultations are underway. When asked if the facilities are ready to host the Games, Mutoya said work is underway to refurbish facilities and they are satisfied with the measures put in place.
“Just last week, we received an update on the infrastructure rehabilitation in readiness for our meeting today (Friday). However, the rehabilitation process was disturbed by COVID-19. Our Games do not have qualification competitions. Member states provided athlete selection guidelines by the respective Sport Confederations and the Technical Manuals are ready. We were due to discuss these during the first Chefs de Mission meeting, which was scheduled for March but had to be postponed due to COVID-19,” Mutoya said.