A total of 85 universities in West Africa will participate in the 14th edition of the West Africa University Games (WAUG) scheduled to take place from October 31-November 12 at the University of Port Harcourt (Uniport), Rivers State.
60 universities from 14 countries have so far registered for the upcoming event which is expected to see 5000 athletes, 400 technical team and 500 coaches.
The championship will feature 16 sports which include: Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Chess, Cricket, Football, Handball, Hockey, Judo Squash, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwando, Volleyball and making it’s debut is Scrabble.
Speaking to members of Sport Writers Association of Nigeria, (SWAN) Rivers State Chapter, Competition Director WAUG Uniport 2018, Professor Ken Anugweje explained how they got the hosting right for this edition.
“It is usually a four year event and rotated round. The event was supposed to be hosted by University D’Abomey Calavi of Benin Republic. According to WAUG, you must hold 80% of the games in the school but when inspection was carried out, they were taken round Cotonou. WAUG had no choice but to withdraw the hosting rights and that’s how we were awarded. We have the facilities so no need going to construct,” he said
While pointing finance as a major challenge, Anugweje called on the government and corporate bodies to help support the school host a successful event.
“Preparation of this magnitude starts with budget. We had an initial budget of over a billion naira but why would we want to budget that much? It’s best because it accords the opportunity of renewing our infrastructure like roads, electricity, water etc like we did in 2004 during NUGA games that was why we made that ambitious budget. When the realities of the challenges started affecting us, we had to trim it down to about 620 million naira that means we are now facing the facilities required for the games,”he said
“I am appealing to the government and the private sector to help us achieve this success.”
Professor Anugweje noted that the 6-time Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) champion is not under pressure to win.
“We don’t go into competition to win because we don’t know what our competitors will bring to the table. It’s just to go out there and put in our best.”
University of Port Harcourt are 3-time champions of the West Africa University Games in 2003 hosted by University of Ouagadougou-Burkina Faso, 2007 in University of Ghana and 2012 in University of Ilorin.