Ministry of Youth and Sports is optimistic that Malawi will host a successful African Union Sports Council (Ausc) Regional V Youth Games in October next year despite uninspiring preparations on the ground.
But in an interview, Ministry of Youth and Sports spokesperson Ali Kalichero assured that construction works of facilities are expected to be finished and tested on time.
He said: “I can assure you that all preparations are in progress and on course as hosting of the event is mandatory.
“You may wish to know that the Regional V secretariat is expected to arrive in the country in July or early August to inspect the existing facilities and those under construction. At this point, they will also provide guidance and a work-plan for the hosting of the games.”
However, former Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC) president Oscar Kanjala, who once served as coordination commissioner for African Youth Games and Olympic Youth Games, questioned the state of preparedness for the event, saying it leaves a lot to be desired.
He said: “Hosting such games requires a lot of things in place such as standard sports infrastructure as well as preparations for athletes.
“It is a requirement that the facilities that are being constructed need to be ready a year before the event to allow for testing yet the swimming and indoor sports complex that the Malawi Government is targeting for the games are still under construction.”
“Honestly, we are not doing justice to the nation because we cannot talk of hosting such a sports event when a lot of things are not in place. The facilities under construction would have finished a year before commencement of the games to allow for testing and modification.
“Another thing is that, the host nation needs best results. But we are not seeing teams in place for the competition. We are not doing justice to our athletes. We are preparing them to fail. We are backward in our preparations. The teams were supposed to get used to the facilities, but am not seeing that happening.”
Meanwhile, the Sports Ministry is yet to engage associations to strategise on athletes preparations.
“We are yet to be briefed on the sports event. We expect that Malawi National Council of Sports will do that as soon as possible,” said MOC general secretary John Kaputa.
It is estimated that over K6.6 billion will be required for the country to host the sport event.
In the 2020/21 National Budget only K1 billion was allocated towards Kamuzu Institute of Sports rehabilitation works ahead of the event yet the swimming pool to be constructed at the centre is estimated to cost K9 billion.
Among many sports codes expected to be competed at the event include, athletics, volleyball, boxing, basketball, football, netball and swimming.
Malawi is expected to host over 3 500 athletes and officials from southern Africa.
Malawi is mandated to host the games in 2022 and failure to do so will lead to K587 million fine.
Supreme Council of Sport in Africa (SCSA) offers member countries to host the games which are held every two years.