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IN an effort to hold an opening ceremony befitting the efforts put in by the people of Zimbabwe and President Mugabe, the regional organising committee of the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games have postponed the official opening to Sunday afternoon.

President Mugabe, who is also the chairperson of the SADC region, is expected to open the Games on Sunday.

Speaking during a press conference at the Games Command centre yesterday, Region 5 secretary general and the organising committee chairperson, Mvuzo Mbebe, revealed the changes.

“As ROC, we are responsible for looking at various aspects of how these programmes go,” said Mbebe.

“We set down and agreed that the opening ceremony must be befitting the chairperson of SADC who is President Mugabe.

“In our analysis, we felt that if we go on with the opening ceremony tomorrow (today), it will not befit the effort made by his Excellency, President Mugabe, and the people of Zimbabwe.”

He said they then contacted the highest office in the land and explained their position to him.

“We reached an agreement with his Excellency that the opening of these Games be held on Sunday and we really would want to thank President Mugabe for his understanding that we move the opening ceremony to Sunday.

“We want to apologise to the people of Bulawayo and the media for that but it would have been impossible for us as ROC to have gone ahead with the opening ceremony tomorrow,” said Mbebe who was flanked by Sport, Arts and Culture Minister, Andrew Langa, who is also the chairperson of the region’s council of Ministers for sports.

Mbebe said renovations at White City were almost complete.

“We will have athletics competition starting on Monday and still ending on Friday. The other minor hitch was at the basketball courts at the ZITF.

“The equipment is still in Durban but it has docked in but measures have been put in place to make sure it gets to the border tonight (yesterday) and by Friday everything should be ready.

“We have, however, put up Plan B by acquiring standard equipment from Harare and creating Court Three,” said Mbebe.

Source : The Herald