Home » Sports » Youth Games Fever Rises

THE fever surrounding the sixth edition of the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games, whose official opening is set for tomorrow at Barbourfields, continued to rise yesterday following the arrival of participating countries.

African Union Sports Council Region 5 secretary-general Mvuzo Mbebe also jetted in yesterday.

Ten countries – Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and hosts Zimbabwe – will compete in eight disciplines which are athletics, basketball, boxing, football, judo, netball, swimming and tennis.

Team South Africa touched down at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport yesterday in three batches on chartered planes with the first group arriving in the morning, followed by the second contingent just after lunchtime, while the last group arrived in the evening.

Angola’s team also jetted into Bulawayo yesterday afternoon with 65 athletes and officials joining their 20-member aance party which has been in this city since Monday.

Addressing the media at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport, where she had gone to welcome Mbebe, local organising committee chairperson, Khonzani Ncube, said they were expecting most countries late last night.

Ncube said they have set up protocol desks at all border posts to assist teams with “smooth flow and avoid delays” when coming in.

She said Mozambique were, by mid-morning, at Nyamapanda Border Post, while Swaziland and Lesotho were expected to come through Beitbridge this morning.

Namibia and Botswana were expected to pass through Plumtree Border Post yesterday while Zambia were yet to confirm which mode of transport they were using.

“What we know is that Zambia are coming tomorrow, but they haven’t confirmed which route or mode of transport they are using.

“There won’t be delays at border posts for those that are travelling by road because we have protocol officers to assist them at various entry points,” Ncube said.

From the airport, Ncube and her LOC went for a meeting with Mbebe where they briefed him on the country’s state of preparedness.

Mbebe also passed through the Command Centre at Bulawayo Polytechnic where accreditation is being done.

“On accreditation, everything is sailing smoothly and we had the Angolans, who arrived on Monday, going through the process smoothly.

“There were no challenges met and we expect the process to continue as it is ahead of the start of Games,” said Ncube.

The Games, running under the theme “Reach for Greatness,” will end on December 14, with Bulawayo being a hive of activity.

White City will be home to athletics and netball, Bulawayo Athletics Club (tennis), City Pool (swimming) while Luveve and Barbourfields will host football.

Boxing will be held at the City Hall with judo and basketball set for the ZITF.

All athletes will be based at Hillside Teachers’ College, which is the Games’ Village.

Source : The Herald