'Byo can be Zim sporting capital'

BULAWAYO - Former minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture, David Coltart believes Bulawayo can become Zimbabwe’s sporting capital by hosting a successful African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region Five Youth Games.

The City of Kings will stage the Games from December 4 to 14 with government pouring in close to $20 million to finance the refurbishment of faculties.

Speaking after touring the various venues to be used for the competition, Coltart revealed he had worked tirelessly during his tenure in government to bring the Games to Bulawayo.

“I was very touched by the president’s (Robert Mugabe) invite through the minister (Andrew Langa),” said Coltart.

“I’m very much encouraged by what I have seen. It wasn’t easy fighting for the venue to be Bulawayo.

“I faced a lot of challenges and discouragement from other members but I believed in Bulawayo hence I stood by the idea of Bulawayo hosting.

“This is a national event, it supersedes partisan politics. We need to unite as Zimbabweans for the successful hosting of the games. The business community must also show their support.

Coltart added: “Let’s show the whole of Africa and the world that Zimbabwe is a proud nation. I also offer my absolute commitment in whatever way possible to make these games a success. With the infrastructure that Bulawayo has I can safely say it will be a sporting capital for Zimbabwe.”

Langa also thanked Coltart for his commitment and support towards the Games. He also thanked him for fighting so that Bulawayo can host the games.

“Thank you Mr Coltart, the Games will indeed leave a legacy and you will be part of the legacy,” said Langa.

Eleven countries are set to take part in the games namely, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Castle Premiership Chief Executive Officer Kenny Ndebele, who is also part of the Games’ Local Organising Committee, said that this weekend has been reserved as the national prayer weekend for the event.

“We are inviting everyone wherever they are to pray for the successful hosting of the Games,” said Ndebele.

“We are looking at all religions in the country to unite in prayer for the Games. It is very important that we also involve the religion in our effort to successfully host the Games.

“We have written letters inviting many religious houses and we expect everyone to take part. We are not looking at specific religion but we want everyone to take up.”

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