18 August 2011

Africa Lacks Capacity to Host Olympic Games - ANOCA

The President of Association of Olympic Committees of Africa, ANOCA, General Lassana Palenfo has said the continent of Africa lacks the capacity to host an Olympic Games even as he expressed confidence that in future the dream of Africa to host the games would come to pass.

Addressing sports journalists yesterday in Abuja after paying a courtesy call on Nigeria's minister of Foreign Affairs, the president said organizing games of such magnitude is a herculean task and there is no country in Africa that has the wherewithal to shoulder the cost of hosting the games.

According to him, hosting an Olympic Games is a project that requires billions and billions of dollars as he noted that the host nation is usually expected to provide high class infrastructure ranging from transportation, accommodation, telecommunication and a host of others.

Palenfo reiterated that one day, Africa would host the games but cautioned that nobody should think it is something that will happen almost immediately.

His words: "Talking about hosting the games, it is a herculean task for any African country to host the games. The Olympic Games cost billions and billions of dollars to host. I am not saying that Africa cannot host. We would surely do one day but there is so much that goes into hosting the Olympics.

"Take for instance, just the press corps; you journalists, media professionals, to cover the Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee and the host city make provision for at least 10,000 journalists. Each and every journalist needs a seat and the necessary ICT equipment.

"There are over 10,000 athletes who are accompanied by their officials and even family members. It is not an easy task for any Africa country to provide all these. Some years ago, the games had an Africa bidding city which was Cape Town in South Africa. Unfortunately, Cape Town did not carry the day.

"But I do believe that within the next few years, we would be in position to organize it despite the very very high cost. We need to have the necessary infrastructure. And as you know, the Olympic Games are hosted by just one city which of course enjoys the support of its country but it is not an easy job for any Africa".

He said Africa would have to start with the youth Olympic before thinking of hosting the Olympic Games proper.

"It was in our books to see whether we could host the maiden edition of the Youth Olympic Games as that was the hope of IOC. Unfortunately, Africa could not come up with any bid. That's why it went to Singapore. It is our hope that in the near future, Africa would be able to host the Youth Olympic Games".

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