(MENAFN- The Post) MASERU – The African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games scheduled to take place in December in Maseru will continue as planned according to the Minister of Sports, Likeleli Tampane.
In an interview with the national radio station Radio Lesotho on Monday, Tampane said Lesotho will press ahead with hosting the games because the consequences of not doing so are dire.
Tampane said not only could Lesotho be fined millions, the country could also be suspended from competing in regional competitions and that's what the ministry wants to avoid.
The minister was also vocal about the disappointments the AUSC Troika of Ministers expressed over Lesotho's lacklustre preparations to host the games.
Tampane said the troika expressed that no country has shown the same lack of commitment and carelessness in preparing for the games as Lesotho has done for the 2021 games.
Just to show how unprepared and uncommitted Lesotho is to the games, there is no renovation that has been done on the facilities that are going to be used. For example, earlier this year cabinet approved a M250 million infrastructure budget but nothing has been done yet.
Setsoto Stadium, which is the national stadium, was scheduled to be renovated but no work has started yet, and as to how much money is going to be used on the stadium is unclear.
The running track at the stadium is not up to international standards and, as it stands, the track does not qualify to be used in December, yet nothing has been done about it.
It is September and it is still unclear if the artificial turf at Setsoto will be replaced with a new one or with natural grass. It took Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) months to complete their projects and installation of the artificial pitches and you have to wonder when the work at Setsoto will start.
The AUSC Region 5 Games were supposed to been held last year, but were rescheduled to this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has ravaged the whole world. However, Covid has been around for two years now and it can no longer be used as an excuse anymore.
In June, the Ministries of Small Business Development and Co-operatives and that of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation signed an agreement to handover the Cooperative College as a command Centre for the AUCS Region 5 Games. At the time the minister said the college would be used as a Polyclinic and Information Centre during the games.
Last month, the troika visited Lesotho to inspect the facilities and made resolutions.
One of them was for the minister to urgently appoint Local Organising Committee (LOC) staff in line with the Regional Organising Committee (ROC) recommendations in order to build on the success registered to date towards the delivery of exceptional games, cognisant of the effects of the prevailing Covid-19 on athlete preparation and subsequent impact on the quality of competition.
Another one was to request the government to find a way to cushion participating countries at the ninth edition of the games when it comes to the cost of Covid-19 tests by considering setting up government facilities and avoiding the use of private facilities that charge exorbitant fees.
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