The African Union Sports Council (AUSC) inter-ministerial committee has urged Malawi to engage an extra gear in their preparations for the 10th edition of Region 5 Youth Games slated for December 2 to 11 in Lilongwe.
This comes just a day after the Region 5 Youth Games were officially launched at a colourful ceremony at Bingu International Convention Centre.
After the launch on Friday, the officials toured the facilities earmarked to host the Games in Lilongwe.
Region 5 Chief Executive Officer Stanley Mutoya, who is also the chairperson for Region Organising Committee, said they were pleased with the progress made on the projects.
“We would like to urge that we quicken our steps, particularly when we look at Civo Stadium in terms of both the football pitch and the basketball court. There is also a need to commence works on rehabilitating the Games Villages,” Mutoya said.
Civo Stadium is expected to host the 2022 Cosafa Under-17 Boys Championship, which will also be used as qualifiers for the Africa Youth Championship.
During the tour two weeks ago, the officials recommended that there is a need to fix floodlights, toilets and the playing surface.
Apart from Civo Stadium, the officials inspected the Griffin Saenda Indoor Sports Complex, Aquatic Sports Complex (both under construction), Natural Resources College (NRC) and Nalikule Teachers Training College. Nalikule and NRC will be the Games villages.
Since last year, the officials have been visiting Malawi to assess its state of preparedness ahead of the Games.
Deputy Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Creation of the Kingdom of Lesotho, Mathortso Monaheng, said Malawi is ready to host the Games.
“Malawi needs joint efforts to ensure that it hosts successful Games. Lesotho did it last year; why not Malawi?” she said.
The Games were launched with fanfare and pomp in Lilongwe five months before the actual event.
Chairperson for the Local Organising Committee Dennis Mwambera said the country is leaving no stone unturned to stage the event successfully.
“We are working day and night to ensure that everything is on track,” Mwambera said.
Ten countries from Southern Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, eSwatini, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho and Botswana, will take part in the Games.
Over 3,500 athletes will compete in various sporting codes namely football, basketball, volleyball, judo, tennis and netball.