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Ministers tour AUSC games facilities

by Sunday Express
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Leemisa Thuseho

THE African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 sports ministers’ troika yesterday toured the facilities that will be used for the upcoming 2021 edition of the regional games.

The games will be held in Maseru in December.

The AUSC ministers’ troika is made up of sports ministers from Malawi (the next hosts), Botswana (the previous hosts) and Lesotho.

However, Gender, Youth, Sport and Recreation minister Likeleli Tampane, who is chairing the troika, was only physically accompanied by Malawian sports minister Ulemu Msungama.

Local organising committee (LOC) deputy chairperson, Mohale Mabaleha, told the Sunday Express yesterday that the ministers wanted to see the progress that Lesotho has made in preparing for the December games.

“The ministers are in the country to see our progress in preparing for the games,” Mabaleha said.

The games are only five months away and the country is yet to start the refurbishment of facilities that will be used for the games. However, Mabaleha believes there is still time.

“I think we still have time to get our facilities ready. The only concern is that government procurement processes are always cumbersome and that may delay of funds.

“We are already preparing for the games. The accreditation team started its workshop on Friday which ends tomorrow (Sunday) while other groups’ workshops are already lined up.”

The troika was accompanied by the regional organising committee (ROC) and the LOC for a tour of the national tennis courts, Setsoto Stadium, the Cooperative College premises and the National University of Lesotho (NUL).

AUSC Region 5 chief executive officer (CEO) Stanley Mutoya said the Cooperative College will be used as the games’ command centre while the NUL will be the athletes’ and officials’ village. The opening ceremony will be held at Setsoto Stadium.

LOC head of infrastructure, Soabeng Moqokolo, said the refurbishment at Setsoto Stadium will see the track and artificial turf being replaced.

“The renovation at Setsoto Stadium will see installation of new artificial turf and track. We will also renovate the dressing rooms as well as the toilets.

“We are still getting quotations for all the equipment and once they are available, the installation of the artificial turf and track will start soon and should be completed within eight weeks,” he said.

Meanwhile, the government has budgeted M252, 8 million for the hosting of the games. The larger portion of the money will be used towards the revamping of the already existing sports facilities.

Originally, the games were meant to be in Maseru last December but were postponed to this year on the back of Covid-19 pandemic.

Lesotho was expecting to host athletes and officials from Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, eSwatini, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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