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ANOCA postponement looms

 

Leemisa Thuseho

CHANCES are high that the 2022 edition of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) African Youth Games may be postponed, Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) acting chief executive ‘Mathato Makhorole has said.

The authorities are now considering postponing the games after the disruption of several preparatory processes by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. This follows a meeting between the games’ Local Organising Committee (LOC), the LNOC and the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation last Wednesday.

“We met but we did not come up with a decision regarding the date of the games because there are a lot of other considerations that must be made,” Makhorole told the Sunday Express.

“However, it is highly likely that the games will be postponed although we must wait for the government to come up with the decision.”

This was the first meeting between the new government and the organisers of the games.

The games were expected to be held in Maseru from 25 February to 6 March 2022. and the postponement consideration is in the balance on the back of the Coronavirus (Covid-19).

The Wednesday meeting was held after the ANOCA executive committee’s extraordinary meeting last week where Lesotho was given until the end of this month to decide whether or not to postpone the games.

In its preparations progress report presented during the ANOCA meeting, Lesotho indicated that the Covid-19 pandemic had negatively affected the preparations in terms of infrastructure construction, funding strategy and practical organisation of the games.

It also noted that the coming in of a new government in Lesotho had slowed down the procedures in preparing for the games.

The Moroccan National Olympic Committee (NOC) president, Kamal Lahlou, proposed that the games be postponed to either 2023 or 2025. However, ANOCA said it was crucial to communicate with the government before considering postponing or cancelling the games.

This will be the fourth edition of the games. The first edition was held in Rabat, Morocco in 2010. Botswana held the second edition of the quadrennial games in 2014 before Algeria hosted them in 2018.

Lesotho was confirmed the hosts of the 2022 games during ANOCA’s extraordinary general assembly held prior to the African Youth Games in Algeria in 2018. The 2022 edition would be Lesotho’s first time to host the games.

Meanwhile the new Sport minister, Likeleli Tampane, has already called for the cancellation of 2020 African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games that were set to be held in Lesotho in December this year but were recently postponed to December 2021.

Tampane has already dissolved the games local organising committee. She cited the lack of funds and the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic as the reasons for cancelling the games.

 

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