Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
MORE than 2 000 athletes and officials have been accredited for the ninth edition of the African Union Sports Council Region 5 youth Games set for Maseru, Lesotho in December.
The Games were initially set for last year, but pushed back by a year due to the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
They will now be held from December 3-12 and all 12-member states, including Seychelles and Mauritius, have confirmed their participation as the countdown begins.
As preparations continue, chef de missions (CDMs) will be in Maseru on October 20 for a final preparation meeting that will culminate in a team sports draw on October 22.
“Twelve member states have confirmed participation. We expect our CDMs to arrive on October 20 for a final preparation meeting with team sports draw taking place October 22,” said Ausc Region 5 chief executive officer Stanley Mutoya, speaking from Lesotho ahead of a two-day Troika of Ministers meeting set for Thursday and Friday.
The Games’ objectives are to encourage young sportspersons to develop towards stages where they can in future represent their nations and the whole region, enable young people from different member states to meet, mix and get to know each other, thereby developing the required community spirit and regional integration.
They also help to develop a spirit of fair play, mutual respect and Olympism among young athletes of the region and provide opportunities for countries of the region to unite in working on an agreed common sports programme.
Mozambique was the inaugural Games’ hosts in 2004, while Botswana played host to the last Games in 2018 before the outbreak of Covid-19 in early 2020 forced a lockdown of countries and suspension of all sporting activities.