‘Lesotho poised to secure investors youth games’

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Mikia Kalati

THE government is on course to secure investors to partner the country when it hosts the 2020 African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games.

This was said by the Deputy Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation, ‘Mabataung Nkhalane this week during the official opening of the three day visit by the AUSC Regional Organising Committee (ROC) at a local hotel.

She said the government has engaged international investors to help Lesotho meet the requirements to stage the games. Nkhalane, who was speaking on behalf of sports minister Mahali Phamotse, conceded that Lesotho is facing financial challenges to build the necessary sporting infrastructure for the games.

She however, said they are in the process of engaging partners for the games.

“The government is committed to hosting successful youth games in 2020 and that commitment has been endorsed by the cabinet,” Nkhalane said. She added: “We have been instructed as the sports ministry to report to cabinet monthly, so that they can track our progress and also to assist whenever we need help”.

“Our local organising committee is fully fledged and operational. It shows commitment by the government. We are also committed to ensuring that all the infrastructure requirements that include accommodation, sporting facilities is available even before the kick-off of the games.

“However, I will not hide that we are having financial challenges. The government does not have the funds that are required to avail facilities and our minister and the minister of finance have agreed that we are going to seek assistance from private investors.

“We have already done that. We have invited proposals from private investors to establish whether or not they are able to fund the development of the infrastructure as you know the games will be held in Maseru.

“We need sporting facilities, we need accommodation. Accommodation of the games will be at the National University of Lesotho and that has also been included in the request for proposals,” Nkhalane said.

Nkhalane said they have already received the proposals from private investors who will soon be announced.

“The proposals have been received from the private investors and the evaluation committee has finalised the selection of the companies that are able to finance the infrastructure.

“However, we cannot disclose the decision now because we still have to consult with the ministry of finance which is responsible for engaging private sector entities.

“On that note, I wish to pledge here in front of you ROC that the government is willing and is able to ensure that the infrastructure facilities and team Lesotho are ready to participate in the games in 2020.

“I would like to appreciate the support of the ROC who came here to guide us as it’s our first time hosting the games. I also want to encourage our local organising committee to work hard whether we are financially stable or not,” Nkhalane said.

Meanwhile, ROC chairperson Stanley Mutonya told the media that they were in Lesotho to follow on the progress made by the Mountain Kingdom in preparation for the games.

“Our mission has two fundamental objectives. The first is that we are making a follow-up to the progress has been made since we left last October.

“Our task is to ensure that we sign off to allow Lesotho to officially launch the games. That requires us to sign-off the games’ logo, the games’ theme and Mascot to be used for the games and we need to lay the foundation for the official launch.

“We also look at the steps and milestones around the competition area development, which is basically the facilities, the sport codes themselves that will be at the games programme and the support services around that,” Mutonya said.

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