With just 21 days to go before commencement of the 2022 African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games, Malawi is yet to have the Aquatic Sports Complex in Lilongwe completed for the regional event.
This raises fears that the facility may not be ready to host the Games from December 2-11.
A visit to the site Thursday showed that there is more work to be done for the complex to be ready.
The first phase of the project involves construction of a 50-meter long international Olympic standard swimming pool.
Also being worked on in the first phase of construction are a 25-meter long training swimming pool, new covered stands, rehabilitation of existing stands, a double storey VIP wing and a social service block.
Stakeholders in the Games have every reason to be worried as work is yet to be completed on the main swimming and training pools.
Workers are also yet to complete erection of new stands while installation of pipes and filters is still underway.
However, construction of the gym and conference rooms is at advanced stage with erection of the block fence having commenced.
The first phase also involves construction of gate houses, turnstile entrance, water tower, mechanical and electrical works, and external works.
However, Youth and Sports Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda said he is optimistic that the facility, which is being constructed at Kamuzu Institute for Sports, will be ready by end of this month.
’’Construction work is a bit slow but we will manage to do it. We are doing our best to make sure that the facilities are ready for the games.
“The good thing is that all materials needed for the facility are in the country and it is just a matter of time before construction is completed. What is remaining is manpower. I am happy that Lilongwe Water Board and Escom have already done the necessary installations,” Chimwendo Banda said.
Should the country fail to have the facility ready for the games, the Local Organising Committee (Loc) will be forced to look for alternative venues within Lilongwe.
Meanwhile, Chimwendo Banda said about 90 percent of work has been done at Griffin Saenda Sports Complex.
The facility is being constructed adjacent to Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Area 48.
’’I am a bit relieved that Griffin Saenda Sports Complex is almost ready. But we will not relax in the remaining days until everything is in place,’’ he said.
The government is also rehabilitating BNS, Civo and Silver stadiums.
Sports analyst George Kaudza-Masina said there is no need to press the panic button.
“Organisers have assured us that the facilities will be ready for the games and there is no need for us to doubt them. So I will come forward with a comment once they raise an alarm,” Kaudza-Masina said.
During the international developmental competition, over 2,500 athletes are expected to compete in various sporting codes including football, netball, basketball, volleyball, athletics, taekwondo and Paralympics.