Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Steady progress made as countdown to Africa Youth Games begins

With only 116 days to go before the start of the 2nd Africa Youth Games, the Botswana Africa Youth Games Organising Committee (BAYGOC) says it is optimistic of hosting successful games.

BAYGOC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tuelo Serufho, says while the committee is yet to meet its targeted financial budget for the games, “slow and steady progress is being made towards achieving such”

The BAYGOC CEO said talks are ongoing with other potential sponsors and announcements are expected to be made in the not so distant future.

“At this moment, we cannot disclose anything as talks are ongoing. We would however like to appeal to potential sponsors to come on board and help us host successful games and build a legacy,” Serufho said.

While the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), the Botswana Government and Choppies Superstores have already given BAYGOC the much needed financial sponsorships, the committee is yet to meet its estimated budget of P75 million for the games.

Should BAYGOC manage to raise the remaining money or even surpass the P75 million mark, the committee is looking to leave a long lasting legacy for Botswana sport from hosting the games.

The BAYGOC CEO reiterated that while the committee is looking at successfully hosting the games, it is also intent on ensuring that the games will leave a lasting impression on Botswana’s sporting landscape as well as the country’s tourism sector, more especially in the event based tourism sector.
With 2500 young African athletes, representing at least 54 countries expected to compete during the games, the 2nd Africa Youth Games will be the single biggest sporting event ever hosted by Botswana.
The games are expected to test the country’s hosting capabilities to the limits.

However, having hosted the Chef de Missions (CDM) for the games in December last year, Serufho says Botswana can look forward to successfully hosting Africa.

Serufho said the response from the CDMs was very positive as they were impressed with the progress the country has made in preparations.

With regards to the infrastructure, Serufho said some of the CDMs were so impressed “they implored Botswana to bid and host more games”.

While many Chef de Missions managed to make it to Botswana, the only slight problem proved to be the ever present issues over Visas, with some of the CDMs failing to make it into the country due to transit visa problems. Quizzed on whether the BAYGOC had put in place solutions to ensure the problem does not affect the games’ attendance, Serufho said the matter is beyond the committee’s control but said the committee would do it to ensure African delegations make it into the country for the games.

“All we can do is advice them to familiarise themselves with the immigration laws of the countries they will be passing through on their way to Botswana and to ensure they comply. However, once they are at our borders or airports, we will then be in control and will be able to help them,” said the BAYGOC CEO.

Meanwhile, Serufho says the BAYGOC is holding on to hope that Africa’s youngest state of South Sudan will send a delegation for the games.

With at least double the number of athletes that competed at the 1st Africa Youth Games expected to compete as well as five more sporting codes, Gaborone 2014, as the games are dubbed, are expected to put Botswana in the spotlight.

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