Organisers Re-evaluate Cost, Structure of All Africa Games

By Off the BASN Wire
Updated: July 24, 2007

ALGERIA—As the All Africa Games in Algeria draw to a close, the cost and organisation of the event have been a frequent topic of discussion.

Speaking at a press conference Sunday (July 22nd), Djaffer Yefsah, Director-General of the Organising Committee for the Ninth All Africa Games, said more than five billion Dinars had been spent to offer the “best possible Games,” adding that their “success… does not depend on the organiser alone, but also on the involvement of all those participating.”

Yefsah declared the event a record-breaking success, with a high level of skill and competition exhibited by athletes, particularly in swimming, taekwondo, boxing and judo, and thanked the more than 6000 athletes, 2500 judges, 900 officials, 900 doctors and medical personnel, 1500 journalists and more than 500 VIPs taking part.

One significant benefit of the event, he said, was in giving Algeria’s guests an opportunity “to see with their own eyes what Algeria is really like, now that it has come out of crisis and is building its future.”

Nevertheless, Yefsah called for an overhaul of the rules governing the continental games, which he deemed “obsolete”.

“The African Games do not have the status they really deserve. They have become too heavy a burden for the organiser, unlike the Asiatic and Pan-American games, which have the means to finance themselves,” he declared.

“The African games should be held as qualifiers for the Olympic Games in order to be of interest to more athletes and sponsors,” he said, adding that these Games, governed until now by the SCSA (Supreme Council for Sport in Africa), should be handed over to the ANOCA (Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa).

The Director-General also noted several activities taking place alongside the competitions; for the first time in Africa, an international camp for youth talent similar to that for the Olympic Games was held at the Draria Sports High School, as well as an International Science Congress where presentations were given on a number of current topics such as identifying young talent, the demands of world-class sports, sports medicine and more.

Outside the press conference, competition continued unabated in some events. On the football pitch, Nigeria’s women’s team routed South Africa in the finals, four goals to zero. After an early draw against South Africa in the qualifying round, Nigeria enjoyed decisive victories against Ethiopia and Algeria in the semi-finals. Sunday’s result earned Nigeria the gold medal for women’s football.

African Football Confederation (CAF) President Issa Hayatou presented the medals to the top two teams, in the presence of Algerian Football Federation President Hamid Haddadj.

Algeria won gold in women’s volleyball, beating tournament favourites Cameroon three sets to one on Sunday in the Tchaker Hall in Blida on Sunday.

Sunday also saw the creation of a new African School Sport Confederation (CASSCO) in Algiers. Twenty-seven countries worked together in the constitutive assembly to establish the new organisation.

Algerian Mohamed Belhadj was elected President of the new outfit, which will serve to promote sport in schools and provide a forum for member countries to discuss common policies governing international sports and stimulate co-operation among African nations.