ABOUT 800 athletes and officials are expected to converge on Windhoek over the next few days for the FASU (Federation of Africa Sports University) Games which will officially kick off with the opening ceremony on Monday, December 17.
At a press conference in Windhoek on Wednesday, the president of Tisan (Tertiary Institutes Sports Association of Namibia), Werner Jeffery, said they were 99 percent ready to host the Games despite only being notified about it three months ago.
Senegal was originally supposed to host the continental games in September but they pulled out due to instability in the country and Namibia accepted at the last minute to host the Games in December. Jeffery said that despite the late notice the Games were on track.
"For us it's an honour to host the FASU Games. We only had three months to organise it and there were some doubts as to whether we would be able to do it, but now I can tell the nation that we are 99 percent ready to host it," he said.
"Namibia is ready. We want to show Africa that we can organise the Games and that we can compete with the best," Jeffery added.
Jeffery said the participating countries would start arriving in Windhoek from today while important delegates would also attend the Games, which will have its general assembly a the Hilton Hotel on Sunday, December 16. Some of these delegates include three vice presidents from FISU, the international university sport federation, namely Oleg Matytsin from Russia, Stefan Bergh from Sweden and Leonz Eder from Switzerland.
Jeffery said the successful hosting of the FASU Games would be very important for future funding of the Games.
"These Games will be very important for Africa because the FISU delegates will decide on further funding and whether it's worth supporting African sport," he said.
A total of 16 countries from all over Africa will participate in the event with some of the biggest delegations expected to come from Algeria, Egypt, Botswana and Uganda.
Continental powerhouses like South Africa and Nigeria, as well as Angola, will not participate due to financial constraints, Jeffery said.
The athletes will be accommodated at the Unam hostel and will compete in nine sport codes, namely athletics, volleyball, basketball, soccer, tennis, table tennis, netball, chess and karate.
Volleyball, basketball and netball will take place at the main Unam campus, athletics will be held at the Independence Stadium, football at the Sam Nujoma Stadium, tennis and table tennis at SKW, chess at the Fürstenhof Hotel and karate at the Unam Khomasdal Campus.
The opening ceremony is scheduled to start at 13h30 on December 17 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium and will be followed by a soccer match between Namibia and a country still to be determined.
The closing ceremony is scheduled for 20h00 on Thursday, December 20 at the Unam Gymnasium.