Namibia expressed interest in hosting the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 games, following Mozambique’s recent withdrawal from hosting the regional competition.
The games were initially scheduled to take place in Maputo next year but for reasons unknown, Mozambique pulled out.
Stepping in to save the day, Namibia, which successfully hosted the same competition in 2006, has shown eagerness to take up the mantle to host the 10th edition of the games.
The AUSC Region 5 games were inaugurated in 2004 and held in Mozambique. Last year’s edition took place in Lilongwe, Malawi.
Speaking to this publication yesterday, Salome Iyambo, a representative from the Namibia Sports Commission, confirmed the country’s interest in hosting the games.
“We are interested in hosting the competition, but nothing has been finalised yet. We sent a delegation to meet with Mozambique government officials to discuss the matter, but we are still waiting for a full report on the way forward. Once we receive the report, we will make a decision and make an official announcement. While we are enthusiastic about the possibility of hosting the event, we must also consider the potential benefits of hosting before signing any agreement,” said Iyambo.
Namibia is one of the member states of the AUSC Region 5, which comprises Angola, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Eswatini. The sports codes that are mostly involved in the games include football, boxing, judo, tennis, karate, volleyball, and swimming.
Hosting the games would require Namibia to have various sports arenas.
Sports minister Agnes Tjongarero believes Namibia has the capacity to host the regional competition, saying: “Region 5 games are not like hosting the African Cup. We have previously hosted the competition successfully, and I believe we have the capacity to stage this competition,” she said.
The games, which are held every two years have become a major regional tournament and attract an average of 3 000 athletes and officials in 11 sports codes.
Athletes compete over a 10-day period. The games have become a significant catalyst for development in the region.