ZIMBABWE will soon set up a committee to steer the hosting of the 2014 Supreme Council for Sports in Africa Zone VI Youth Games following the signing of the protocol agreement in the capital yesterday.
Minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture, David Coltart signed on behalf of the Government while Mvuso Mbebe represented Zone VI Games.
Mbebe is the secretary general for SCSA Zone VI and Coltart said his Ministry would later decide on whether to stage the Games in Bulawayo or Harare.
Zone VI general manager Stanley Mutoya accompanied Mbebe for the ceremony.
Officials from the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, the Sports Commission and the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee will meet soon to the start modalities of hosting the Games.
Coltart said while the Games are an opportunity to develop sporting talent they will also provide a window for the world to view Zimbabwe.
"I was privileged to attend the Olympic Games in London and it was more than a sports event. This was an opportunity for Britain to re-brand itself and promote its investments and business.
"Of course the Zone VI Games are not as big in magnitude as the Olympics but they will provide the young people with an opportunity to showcase their sporting talents," said Coltart.
Coltart challenged Zimbabweans to use the Games to promoting sports tourism.
"Zimbabwe had an unpleasant history in the past few years but now stability has returned with the inclusive Government.
"These Games are an opportune time for Zimbabwe to re-brand ourselves.
"We are not only reaching out regionally but internationally.
"We want them to be the best Games ever and we have to weigh if we can host the Games in Harare or Bulawayo," he said.
The local organising committee will look at the city with the best facilities like airports, venues and accommodation.
"Soon, we should be meeting with ZOC and the SRC, ministry officials and other stakeholders to map out the setting up of a Local Organising Committee as a first step.
"I want to thank my colleagues in the Cabinet and all parties in the inclusive Government. My appreciation to (Tendai) Biti who allocated funds in the budget to rehabilitate the venues in 2013.
"Some work could be carried out over in 2014 but our target is 2013," said Coltart.
Zambia will host this year's edition of the bi-annual event following the last edition in Swaziland in 2010.
Mbebe took the opportunity to present the draft rules, regulations and constitution of the Zone VI that will guide Zimbabwe as they prepare for hosting the games.
"We are happy to be here (in Zimbabwe) to sign the protocol of agreement with the Government. The Zone VI is a major achievement in Sadc as it has provided medallists in the Olympics who can trace their history to the Games.
"One of the reasons for the Zone VI was to establish a platform for young athletes to participate in sport. Sport has mostly been football but we felt that we have to start a programme for all the other sports," said Mbebe.
At the inaugural edition held in 2004, South Africa topped the medals table followed by Zimbabwe.
"When we started the Games, we saw dominance by South Africa and Zimbabwe but after the other editions it's no longer a guarantee," Mbebe said.
Mbebe expressed confidence that Zimbabwe will be able to successfully host the Games following the triumphant staging of the Sixth All-Africa Games in 1995.