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Team SA settled in Lusaka

By Gareth Duncan in Lusaka, Zambia

After four flights and several hours of accreditation paperwork, Team South Africa finally settled in Lusaka for the Zone VI Games late on Wednesday night.

The squad travelled to Zambia via four two-hour flights from O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, with the first group landing at 10am and the last group landing at 9pm.

While boarding the 1:30pm flight from Jozi, South African Olympic hero Chad le Clos (pictured right) was present to send his wishes to the team. The two-time Olympic medallist was busy travelling from Johannesburg back home to Durban, and took time out to sign autographs, chat to his fans and take photos.

‘It’s always great to spend some time with the future stars of South African sport. I wish them well for the Zone VI Games,’ Le Clos told

When the team arrived, the weather was wet and humid. Rainfall was more frequent during the night. The squad gathered at the Mulingushi International Conference Centre to register, but it was discovered that everyone had to redo the accreditation process because of ‘technical difficulties’.

One by one, all forms had to be filled in and new photos had to be taken. There was no whiteboard backdrop, which saw the Zone VI officials use the staircase or any available wall as a background for the new head shots.

From 10am right through the night, this process was finally completed. The athletes and officials were then driven to their respective bases.

Lesotho and Mozambique (two of the 12 competing nations) also arrived in Lusaka on Wednesday night, and the spirit was vibrant among the respective teams.

The locals also expressed their excitement, stating that ‘it’s the biggest sports event the country has ever hosted’. A new Olympic-size pool (pictured right) and other facilities were created and renovated especially for the U20 event, and Zambia will be able to produce more and better athletes because of it.

The Zone VI Games officially opens on the 7 December and finishes on 16 December. An opening ceremony is scheduled. The U17 men’s soccer team – also known as the Amajimbos – will kick off South Africa’s tournament campaign on the opening day against Malawi.