The Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, has assured Batswana that the second African Youth Games will go smoothly despite enormous challenges at hand.
Speaking in the Paliament on Thursday he said plans are already underway in case power cuts and water shortage persist during the Games.
“Should we experience problems with water the games will be relocated to the North,” said Kgathi in parliament.
“As to the power cuts the Minister responsible for Minerals, Water and Energy Resources also reassured everything will be in order,” he added.
Sporadic power cuts and water rations have been the order of day for the country, particularly in the South, threatening all 54 African countries that will come together to form one solid sport community in Botswana.
From May 22 to 31 at least 2500 young people aged 14 to 18 years will participate in 21 sporting codes accompanied by at least 1500 officials in the capital City Gaborone.
Kgathi indicated his Ministry and almost all the Ministries were amicably working together, casting aside suggestions he could be embarrassed by the responsible Minister Kitso Mokaila.
President Ian Khama, Mokaila has in the past made assurances to the public that electricity power cuts will soon be a thing of the past but the intermittent power cuts persisted.
Francistown South Member of Parliament Wynter Mmolotsi wanted Sports Minister to assure the sports enthusiast and the House such an attitude will not repeat itself. “I have a trust with the Minister and believe in his words,” Kgathi said, admitting he never physically reassured himself of the security promise.
As to the personal security of the participating athletes both local and outside including the general public, Kgathi indicated all was in place.
Although relatively young, the 2nd African Youth Games are expected to be a spectacular showpiece, with fireworks to mark the beginning and end of the event, reminiscent of international renowned games.
Of the 21 sporting codes, Botswana will compete for almost all the codes except 4 including water sports which the locals are not much familiar with.
Botswana hosts the 2nd African Youth Games following a debutante successful Morocco tournament four years ago.
An international multi-sport event, African Youth Sports compliments the current All-Africa Games.
The Games will be broadcast live in most if not all African countries, through Botswana Televison and Super Sport.
“There will be plenty of stories and images coming out of our country and being read, heard and seen through the length and breadth of African continent and beyond through print, radio, television and social media,” Kgathi said.
“The theme for the Games is Uniting African Youth: Catalysing Botswana’s Economic Diversification.” I therefore hope in line with this theme, we will take advantage of this unique opportunity to profile ourselves as a destination for investment, tourism, education and sport,” he said.
He added: “This would result in employment creation and consequently improving the lives of Batswana.”
Dubbed the whipping boys of Africa, the Zebras national team will be hoping to tap from the grass roots talent after poor performance from the senior team for years. The team has engaged a new coach from England, Peter James Butler, in the hope of salvaging the increasing dwindling image of Botswana’s football internationally.