Unite to improve sports-AUSC

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Leemisa Thuseho

AFRICAN governments must stop working in silos as that has seen sports matters being relegated to pastime instead of getting priority.

This has seen athletes struggling at different platforms and also failing to develop as expected compared to their counterparts from different countries.

This came out at the recently held regional sports forum. The forum was attended by government officials from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), SADC and African Union officials, sports ministers, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), Confederation of Southern African National Olympic Committees (COSANOC) and the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5.

The event ran on the 13th and 14 November 2019.

AUSC Region 5 chief executive officer Stanley Mutoya said they held the event under the theme “Towards a collective vision and harmony in sports”.

Mutoya said the forum responded to the question on how to ensure that sports delivery agencies create harmony, collaborations, common visions and work together.

“In different African countries and in our region, cases of disharmony have been rife either between national sports federations and their sports commissions or sports commissions and national Olympics committees or even between Olympic committees and their governments,” Mutoya said.

“It is good that as Africa, we have spoken in one voice in solidarity in addressing the key issues towards developing sport,” Mutoya added.

He said the forum saw the three bodies developing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with clear areas of collaboration among them promoting harmony and good governance in sports.

Mutoya said after the forum, he believes that the boundaries that were created between governments and sports commissions would be history and all stakeholders would focus on athletes’ welfare.

He said that the stakeholders have all agreed to change their strategy. To that effect, they have agreed to form a taskforce comprising of the AUSC Region 5, the CGF and the COSANOC. The taskforce is mandated to comprehensively plan for the France 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympics.

“The task team must develop a plan that addresses key fundamentals and milestones among them the timelines, the risks and the projections,” Mutoya said.

For his part, COSANOC secretary general Tuelo Serufho said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognises the importance of collaborations between the public and the sport authorities.

He said in the past, African athletes used to make it to the medal podiums at high-profile tournaments but they are now failing.

“The question becomes, where did we go wrong? One of the factors that we discovered is that in the region we have a lot of developing countries whose economies are weak. These countries do not prioritise sports because governments are concerned about putting books in classrooms and providing proper healthcare, so sport is right at the bottom. We hope this forum will change that,” Serufho said.

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