The Eswatini Sports and Recreation Council (ESRC) is pleased and proud to announce that the kingdom of Eswatini will host the Regional Annual Sports Awards (RASA) on behalf of the African Union Sports Council Region 5 this year.

The event is slated for June 24, 2023, at a venue that is yet to be confirmed.

The Regional Annual Sports Awards (RASA) is a region 5 premier event to celebrate sporting excellence from the ten Member Countries of Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The accolades are bestowed upon athletes, coaches, member countries, journalists and teams that have produced outstanding performances in sport at regional and international level over the past year. The essence is to maintain credibility by considering winners of respective Member Country awards as automatic RASA nominees. The hosting of the RASA is rotational among the Region 5 Member countries in alphabetic order. This will give each of the Member Countries an opportunity for a close-up interface with this significant brand. The first three editions were hosted by South Africa from 2016 to 2018, with Namibia hosting the fourth edition in 2019 before COVID-induced restrictions put a halt to all sporting events including the RASA.

The public will recall that on the 1st of March, 2023, the ESRC hosted the Eswatini Sports Awards. The RASA therefore presents a glorious opportunity for the local winners to test their mettle against the finest the region has to offer during the eagerly anticipated RASA.

Local winners will contest the RASA. These are the likes of Zweli Dlamini (Outstanding Senior Sportsman), Nolwazi Nkwanyana (Outstanding Senior Sportswoman), Sihlelelwe Matsebula (Outstanding Junior Sportsman), Hayley Hoy (Outstanding Junior Sportswoman), Vusi Xaba (Outstanding Sportsman with a Disability), Lihle Mngometulu (Outstanding Sportswoman with a Disability), Chess Ladies Team (Outstanding Sports Team), Mancoba Motsa (Outstanding Sports Coach), Eswatini Taekwondo Federation (Outstanding National Sports Association).

The African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 is one of the five Regions entrusted with the responsibility to develop sport under the African Union. This follows the dissolution of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA), under which the Region 5 was known as SCSA Zone VI. The SCSA was established on the 14th December 1966 and served as a specialized agency of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) for the coordination of the Africa Sports Movement and to utilize sport in the struggle against colonialism and apartheid on the continent. Invariably, the SCSA was essentially a political organization which furthered the aims and objectives of the OAU through sport. The main aim of the SCSA was to use sport as a vehicle to achieve peace, integration and unity in Africa i.e., sport as a vehicle for African Renaissance and for encouraging people to develop and come together, irrespective of colour, economic status, political, class, or gender differences.

One of the mandates of the AUSC Region 5 is to encourage, coordinate and promote the development of all forms of sport in the Region. The AUSC Region 5 Regional Rewards Programme is aimed at providing a unique opportunity for the Region to motivate member countries, teams and individuals by recognizing and celebrating meritorious service and outstanding achievements in sport. The programme has four offerings being the REGIONAL ANNUAL SPORTS AWARDS (RASA), Medals of Honour (conferred every two years), Ten-Year Service Awards and the Sports Hall of Fame.

Indeed all roads lead to Eswatini for this red-carpet event meant to attract the best that SADC Region has to offer in sport.  As Eswatini waits with bated breath to welcome the Region’s icons in sport, members of the public and corporate community are invited to join hands with the Eswatini Sports and Recreation Commission to deliver an exceptional event that will remain memorable in the history of the Awards in the Region.

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