THE government will spend about M4, 8 billion to prepare for the Africa Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games penned in for Maseru next year.
This was said by Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation minister Mahali Phamotse during a media briefing yesterday. She also announced that Prime Minister Thomas Thabane would officially launch the games tomorrow.
The games will take place in December next year and are expected to feature Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, eSwatini, Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana and Lesotho.
Phamotse said the M4, 8 billion would go into infrastructure construction logistics.
“Prime Minister Thabane will officially launch the games on Friday (tomorrow),” Phamotse said.
“Several activities have been lined up as part of the launch. We will start with a fun walk in the morning and we will also have some recreational activities until midday. Later in the evening we will then have a gala dinner.
“The money budgeted to do all this work is approximately M4, 8 billion which will be used in the construction of grounds (Lepereng) and the games village (National University of Lesotho). It will also be used for the entire preparations of the games.”
Phamotse said they expect to see youths being involved in the preparations considering that about 3000 jobs would be created in the process.
“The games are for the youth and we want to see them being part of this journey starting from the Friday event.
“There are also lot of jobs that are going to be created in the run up to the games and we are expecting Basotho youth to benefit from the opportunities regardless of their political affiliations,” she said.
Phamotse also they hope the country will be represented by at least 300 athletes at the games. She said they have already mapped out how they will get the athletes.
“We are targeting 300 athletes. In fact, we would have wanted to have more but there are regulations that we had to abide by. Plans are already in the pipeline on how we are going to get that number of athletes. We will have to go to every district instead of concentrating on Maseru only,” Phamotse said.