By Catherine Chimoyo
Youths from the northern region need to wait a little longer before accessing the much awaited Youth Sport Centre which the government promised to construct in the City of Mzuzu.
Government through the Ministry of Labour, Youth Sports and Manpower Development received funding for the project from Government of China and in the 2016/17 budget it allocated K 50 million to the Multipurpose Youth Centre construction project.
The construction of the project, which was set to start in 2015, has not yet begun as there is no indication that it will be starting anytime soon.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) one of the youth and a footballer in Mzuzu, Pilirani Gonje, said it was sad to note that since 2015 nothing tangible has happened on the construction site.
“There is nothing on the construction site. We only witnessed two ground breaking ceremonies that symbolized the commencement of the project but here we are in 2018 and not a brick has been laid to signify the start of the project,” he said.
The first ground breaking ceremony was presided over by the Minister of Labour Youth Sports and Manpower Development Grace Chiumia in 2015 when she was the responsible Minister.
After a while, the earmarked site of the project was moved to another location following recommendations that the initial proposed site was deemed ‘too small’ to support such a huge facility as a Youth Centre.
In 2017, Henry Mussa, the then Minister of Labour Youth Sports and Manpower Development, presided over the second ground breaking ceremony at the second chosen location.
Mzuzu District Sports Officer, Olga Mlambe stressed that the delay of the promised sports centre has hindered the northern youths as far as development is concerned.
“Mzuzu as a city doesn’t have any modern sports facility that youths/athletes can use apart from the Katoto courts. This has a huge setback on our athletes who most of the time lose interest in sports because they don’t have conducive environments for their trainings and competitions,” he said.
Apart from that challenge, Mlambe added that it is difficult for our athletes to adapt when they go to foreign countries to participate in competitions since they are not used to the facilities.
He asked government to consider fulfilling its promise because the youths in the region were already impatient in waiting for the promised Multipurpose Youth Centre as the year is going to an end.
However, when Mana contacted MOLYSMD Public Relations Officer, Christina Mkutumula, on the progress of the project and when the centre should be expected said she could not comment on the matter.
“Currently I cannot comment on this. Thank you,” she declined.