Virus may blow away Games

Virus may blow away Games

MASERU-The African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games set for Maseru in December are in limbo.
As things stand, it is unclear if the games will continue because of the worldwide coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Last week Lesotho’s Minister of Gender, Youth, Sport and Recreation, Dr Mahali Phamotse, said the ministry is monitoring the situation. She said the games are of “national importance” and a decision is yet to be made.

However, the AUSC Region 5 Council of Ministers Troika is set to convene an emergency risk assessment meeting to discuss the effects of Covid-19 on sport in the region.
The ministry said in a press release yesterday, the virtual meeting will zoom in specifically on the impact of the global pandemic on the Region 5 programmes and particularly the 2020 Region 5 Youth Games scheduled for December 4 to 13 in Lesotho.

The Troika is a management board of the Council of Ministers of sport in the region and is currently chaired by the Lesotho’s minister of sport, Dr Phamotse, and includes Malawi’s minister of Youth and Sport, Francis Phiso and Botswana minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare.
According to the Lesotho’s government’s forecasts, it expects at least 40% of the nation to be infected by COVID-19 with 10% of the infected to be severely affected.
Should the situation worsen the games would have to be postponed.

Sport is already amongst the hardest hit industries in all affected countries which have duly cancelled, postponed or suspended all scheduled sporting events and activities to minimise the spread of the coronavirus.
The AUSC Region 5 chief executive officer Stanley Mutoya said the Troika will assess the risk exposure of the region and channel a response strategy in order to ensure business continuity in the wake of the uncertainty and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The AUSC Region 5 has an existing risk management policy, and charter which will be used to assess the impact of the inherent impact of the pandemic on business continuity,” Mutoya said in a press release.

In the meantime, the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC), which has been mandated by the sports ministry to prepare Team Lesotho for the games, says it has no hope going into the AUSC Region 5 Youth Games.
LSRC spokesperson Teboho Rakhomo said even before the coronavirus pandemic preparations were already behind. He said the outbreak has further disrupted their preparations which were already late and insufficient.

akhomo said the LSRC is in the dark as to what it will be doing in December if the games continue. He said the LSRC doesn’t even know which sporting codes will do well.
The sports mother body has sent all athletes home with training programmes from their respective national camps but the LSRC says it is not able to monitor if the athletes are following their schedules.

On top of that, the LSRC says it has only received M1 million from government since last year to prepare the team and the money is not enough.
“It is different depending on each sporting code, you cannot say you need this much time but you need several programmes to prepare athletes,” Rakhomo told thepost.
“For us, even without coronavirus, we were already under pressure, we are behind and we are in a position where we can promise Basotho a victory. I don’t see which sporting code can win,” Rakhomo added.
“When you go to these types of games you need to prepare by hosting tournaments and also going to international tournaments.”

Tlalane Phahla

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