Langa speaks on Youth Games

HARARE - Sports Minister Andrew Langa has played down the controversies that surrounded the African Union Sports Commission (AUSC) Region V Youth Games that were held in Bulawaup earlir this month.

Langa also assured all individuals and corporate companies still owed for rendering their services that they will be paid.

Bulawayo hosted the AUSC with significant refurbishment of facilities being done in Zimbabwe’s second largest city.

The Zimbabwe government poured in $12 million towards infrastructure development and $3, 6 million towards operations, Langa reviewed.

However, that did not stop the emergence of a raft of challenges that threatened to blemish the country's image.

From the onset, confusion reigned ahead of the scheduled start of youth sporting extravaganza, with the Opening Ceremony delayed, teams and equipment having not arrived and venues for several sports not ready.

The sad tale continued with games being abandoned at White City Stadium after officials staged a sit-in demanding payment of their allowances.

It got nastier with reports of some medical practitioners feeling short changed for receiving nothing for their 24 hour services.

It would also emerge about 700 police officers deployed to the Games in Bulawayo claiming that they only received a fifth of their allowances that were on offer during the 10-day event.

“It’s an issue I believe we are managing. But what we need to take note off is that the Youth Games were a success,” Langa told the Daily News on Sunday at the sidelines of the Annual National Sports Awards on Wednesday night.

“We still have some extending payment and as we speak we are still trying to payback all outstanding dues. All those who were contracted all those who gave services to youth games will be paid.”

Asked of the notable challenges that characterised the event and the number of people left frustrated by the organizational system of the Games, Langa said they were just glitches.

“No, no, no that happens,” he said.

“Even in your own family whenever you are preparing for a wedding, a simple wedding you have some small things. Those are issues we can share with Zimbabweans. There are not issues of importance.

“What Zimbabweans have to know is that the Games were a success. You should appreciate that we have tried under the circumstances.”

Zimbabwe came second on the Youth Games medal table with a total of 93 medals with South Africa leading the roost after amassing 121 medals while Angola, closed in third place with 20 medals.

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