By Tione Andsen:
African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 netball and basketball technical envoys have expressed satisfaction with the standard of match venues currently under construction in Lilongwe.
The venues will be used for hosting this year’s Region 5 Youth Games in December which are expected to involve 3,500 competitors.
In a bid to ensure that preparations for the Games are on course, AUSC officials conducted a three-day Progress Review which ended with a media interface at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
South African netball envoy Imelda Nerongo said construction of the Griffin Saenda Netball Arena is a mile stone in the development of the game in the country.
“Once construction of the arena is completed, it will spur development of netball from the grassroots, where upcoming netball players would be exposed to a facility of international standards.
“Malawi’s choice to have such an arena for the Games has demonstrated total commitment to the development of netball. The Games will be a starting point and chances are that Malawi will be able to host more international netball events using this facility,” Nerongo said.
Basketball delegate from Botswana Mothusi Thipe said the investment being put into renovating the Civo court would greatly help in developing the game.
“I am impressed with what I have seen so far. The contractors are doing their best to meet the deadlines. This facility would attract more youths to participate in basketball. Authorities in the game should come up with ways of making use of the renovated courts after the Games in December.
“This court will be one of the Games’ legacies. It is the heart of basketball in Lilongwe. The fact that it has worn a new face is an encouraging development to the basketball fraternity in the country,” Thipe said.
Chairperson for the Games’ Regional Organising Committee Stanley Mutoya said hosting the Games would help boost the country’s sports tourism.
“The facilities under construction would meet the required international standards. Malawians need to promote and support activities of the Games and use the opportunity to make the country known. This will help attract more international competitions.
“Some of the games at this tournament will be used as qualifiers for global competitions. This is why we want to make sure that the facilities are to the required levels of international competitions,” Mutoya said.— Mana