Olopeng hits out at ANOCA

Ministerial concerns: Olopeng (left) addresses journalists in Gaborone yesterday. PIC: KAGISO ONKATSWITSE
Ministerial concerns: Olopeng (left) addresses journalists in Gaborone yesterday. PIC: KAGISO ONKATSWITSE

The Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng has blatantly condemned the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa's (ANOCA) intention to take the full ownership of the All Africa Games.

Briefing the media yesterday, Olopeng said during his visit to the All Africa Games in Congo Brazaville, he attended a AUSC Region V caucus meeting on September 2, 2015, where it was upheld that the games should remain under the custody of the African Union Sport Council (AUSC), on behalf of the member states. “ANOCA president wrote a letter to the African Union (AU) demanding full ownership of the games and cede the use of the AU anthem, logo and flag during the games,” he said.

Olopeng further indicated that ANOCA also demanded African governments to finance the games but as a silent partner.

“They want us to back off yet they demand finance and provide technical support, that cannot happen,” he said. 

He said backing off would hamper the spirit of the games that started way back in 1963.

“As a collective, we don’t agree with ANOCA and we believe these games are a brand whether ANOCA is involved or not,” he said.

Olopeng further said their initial intention in April this year was to strike a good relation with the body, but their demands had made it impossible.

“Ministers are comfortable in partnering with ANOCA as technical partners that is why there was a draft memorandum of understanding,” he said.

He said ANOCA’s refusal to cooperate with the African governments has forced the ministers to refuse to hand over the games.

Olopeng said the tone and behaviour with which ANOCA is addressing AU and ministers of states is disrespectful and arrogant.

“We do not agree with ANOCA’s claims that they can grant the African Games Olympic Games qualification status,” he said.

Olopeng said they have since concluded to reject and condemn contempt of ownership of the Africa Games by ANOCA.

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