Abuja-Nigeria — Basketball will be added to the list of sports for the third ECOWAS games to be hosted by Côte d'Ivoire in 2014, bringing the number of sports to six, organisers have said.
Five sports were competed for during the second edition of the biennial games hosted and won by Ghana in 2012.
These include athletics, traditional wrestling, boxing, volleyball and handball.
This was one more than the four for the inaugural edition of the games hosted and won by Nigeria in 2010 in which the participants competed in athletics, traditional wrestling, volleyball and handball.
Some 215 participants from each Member State will take part in this third edition to be held in Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire's capital.
The Director of the Ouagadougou-based ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre, Mr Francis Chuks Njoaguani said the under-23 games represented an opportunity for youth from the region to forge understanding and imbibe the spirit of competition and regional cohesion.
" The games is one of our platforms for bringing youths together to galvanise them not only to demonstrate their talents but also to internalise the ECOWAS values behind our integration process and contribute to this process particularly against the backdrop of our vision to ensure that our integration is citizen-driven," the director said.
He expressed optimism that the number of games will continue to increase until all the key sports have been integrated into the games, one of several sports activities coordinated by the centre for the community.
The others include two traditional wrestling competitions held annually in Niamey and Dakar and an international cycling tour covering a total distance of about 520km between Lagos in Nigeria and Abidjan in Cote d'Ivoire.