Zimbabwe: Region 5 Games Postponed to 2021

6 August 2020

The African Union Sports Council Region 5 Youth Games scheduled for Maseru, Lesotho, from December 4 to 13 have been postponed by a year.

The Games will now be held in December 2021 with the 2022 Games scheduled for Malawi remaining unchanged.

The decision was reached during the troika of AUSC Region 5 Ministers of Sport virtual meeting held on July 31.

The AUSC Region 5 is made up of Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

And the region's troika is chaired by the Lesotho Minister of Gender, Youth, Sport and Recreation, Likeleli Tampane.

It includes Malawi's Minister of Youth and Sport, Ulemu Msungama, and Botswana Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare.

The Region 5 troika of ministers of sport first met on April 2 to assess the impact of the coronavirus disease of 2019 on the programmes and activities of the region, including the Youth Games.

Following a thorough assessment of the risk matrix as guided by the Region 5 risk management framework, the ministers then resolved to further assess the situation in July 2020.

It was resolved during the April troika meeting that if the pandemic remained in subsistence by July 2020, then the Games would be postponed to April/May 2021.

The indaba of July 31, 2020 was therefore a follow-up assessment meeting to further assess the state of the impact of the pandemic on the Region 5 Games in line with the decision made in April.

In reaching the decision, the Troika was informed by an experts report made by the Games Region 5 Games Medical, Health and Anti-Doping Committee as well as the World Health Organisation Covid-19 position paper on considerations for sports events.

Both sets of expert organs provided granular detail on the dangers and implications of hosting the Games under the current pandemic which is not expected to abate as soon as desired.

It was strongly recommended that Games should only be held in a normal environment for the safety of participants from the hosting and travelling countries.

Should the pandemic remain in existence by January 2021, the ministers resolved that the Games would be cancelled completely to be hosted in December 2022, with Malawi, who are scheduled to host in 2022, being shifted to host the 10th edition in 2024.

That decision would, however, be pronounced only after in-depth consultation by the Government of Lesotho.

The AUSC Region 5 Youth Games are hosted every two years.

The African Union Sport Council Region 5 is the sports arm of the African Union.

The main aim of the AUSC Region 5 is to use sport to achieve peace, integration and unity in Africa.

The mandate includes co-ordination of sports development and sport for development within the Region and ensuring high performance and socio-economic transformation of societies through sport.

The AU divided Africa into five Regions due to the vastness of the continent and for effective coordination purposes.

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