There is a sigh of relief after Mozambique stepped in to host the 10th All Africa Games in 2011 in Maputo. The announcement by Supreme Council of Sports for Africa last Friday ends months of speculation on the venue for the continent’s largest multi-sports event.
Zambia who had indicated a willingness to host the games in Lusaka bowed out citing rising costs because of the current global crisis.
Mozambique’s deputy sports minister, Carlos Jose Castro de Souza, told the BBC’s African sports programme Fast Track that Maputo will be ready for the Games.
“We have a sports complex in place, and in November next year the new National Stadium will be ready, for football and athletics,” he said.
In preparation for the games, refurbishment of the country’s facilities will start immediately. Also, Mozambique hopes to host some of the teams which will be playing in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
But, the number of disciplines could be considerably scaled down because Maputo lacks some of the facilities. In Algeria, there were 24 disciplines.
Hockey was not part of the menu in Algeria but was hosted by Kenya. It could be the same case when swimming and hockey may not be hosted in Maputo but by another country. Maputo does not have an Olympic size swimming pool and an artificial surface for hockey.
Kenya hosted the games in 1987 and is yet to bid for the championship which is christened the Olympics for Africa. Algiers appears jinxed as a host of the All Africa Games.
In 1978, Algeria were hosts to the third edition of the pan Africa games and after that, the organisers had problems finding a a willing host until Kenya stepped in to organise the fourth edition of the games in 1987.
Algiers was the host again in 2007 after which Zambia was designated as the next host only to pull out citing financial constraints.
By some coincidence, when the games were held in Algiers in 1978, the previous edition, the second, had been held in Lagos in 1973. The last games before Algiers 2007 were held in another Nigerian City, Abuja in 2003.