The Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) Vice President, Da Costa Alegre Afonso, says Botswana is 60 – 70 percent ready to host the African Youth Games.
Addressing a press conference after a three day inspection tour of the country, the ANOCA Vice President said he was impressed by the facilities he saw in the country. Afonso, who was part of a two man commission sent to check the country’s readiness to host the event, said the country’s facilities were in a good enough position to host the event.
“The remaining 30 ÔÇô 40 percent of this country’s readiness is on the administrative side of hosting. This encompasses issues of transportation, communication and marketing as well as opening and closing ceremonies,” the ANOCA Vice President explained.
He says with the infrastructure already in place, it will be easy for Botswana to host the event if it was to be awarded the host status.
“The administrative side of hosting is the easiest part. Building infrastructure is the most difficult part of hosting games. Botswana already has infrastructure and some of the facilities, like the National Stadium, are already under renovations, so the difficult part is done,” the ANOCA Vice President informed the media.
The two-man ANOCA Coordinating Commission was also impressed with the proximity of facilities in Gaborone. Afonso said the fact that the athletes’ village will be at the University of Botswana, which is closer to the stadiums was impressive. Quizzed by the media as to who is competing with Botswana, the ANOCA Vice President said while some countries had shown interest, Botswana was the only country that had made an official bid on time before a set deadline date. He, however, said that despite the fact that Botswana is officially the only country being considered to host the event, procedure has to be followed before the country can be awarded host status. Asked what his take was on Botswana’s facilities compared to other African countries, Afonso said the country’s facilities were excellent when compared to those in many African countries. He said while there are countries with better facilities like South Africa and some countries from North Africa, the facilities within the country were very good.
He said, considering the good facilities available in the country, he is amazed that Botswana has not bid to host bigger adult events. The ANOCA Vice President says should Botswana be granted the host status, the country will benefit a lot from the event. He says the benefits of hosting will not just be on the sporting side but will traverse different spectrums of the economy. Afonso says with Botswana still a young emerging economy, sectors like education, health and tourism will also benefit if the country is given the go ahead to host the event. On the sporting front, the ANOCA Vice President said Botswana stands to benefit a lot as the games serve as preparatory games for the Youth Olympics. He says with the games scheduled before the Youth Olympics, if Botswana hosts the games, they will field a bigger team and have a chance of qualifying more athletes for the Youth Olympics, which will help develop local athletes. He says apart from this, the country’s sport will benefit from the goodwill of international federations who will bring expertise and equipment into the country. The two-man commission is expected to give a report back to ANOCA before the decision of who the host will be is taken.