Rugby federation seeks Africa nod

Rugby federation seeks Africa nod

Luciah Phahla

Maseru – The Federation of Lesotho Rugby (FLR) is hopeful it will be handed full membership to Rugby Africa when the governing body convenes for its 12th general assembly meeting this week.

FLR president Fetang Selialia will attend the continental summit which will be held in Botswana starting today until Sunday.

Should FLR receive full membership status, it would confirm its impressive rise.
The association was only formed in 2012 but its general secretary, Litšitso Motšeremeli, believes FLR has done enough over the past four years to be elevated from the associate member status it currently holds.

However, Motšeremeli also pointed out Lesotho is up against countries such as Nigeria which have been competing internationally for over 15 years which could hurt FLR’s chances.
Only five countries from 14 hopefuls will be inducted.

Even so, Motšeremeli said FLR has done everything to meet the requirements of becoming a full member of Rugby Africa which include setting up development, women’s and Rugby 7’s teams as well as holding regular tournaments.
“In 2012 we were in France to introduce Lesotho rugby to World Rugby and Rugby Africa,” Motšeremeli told thepost on Tuesday.

“We became associate members and we were given two years and terms regarding how we should perform in order to be granted (full) membership such as giving reports. We did all that.”

“There were a lot of things that we were supposed to do. (Rugby Africa) was looking at the development of the sport in the country and we do have development structures,” he said.
Motšeremeli added: “We hosted tournaments in Maseru, Mohale’s Hoek and we were in Leribe (last week) doing the same thing which shows we are committed to developing rugby in the country by hosting tournaments in different districts. We were supposed to set up women’s and Rugby 7’s teams and we have done that. Remember we had a tournament for the Rugby 7’s as well.”

Another condition set by Rugby Africa was that the national team should play at least five matches internationally.

Motšeremeli said results in these games were crucial to Lesotho’s pursuit of full membership. As luck would have it, the national team, Likatola, has done well despite challenges such as a lack of finances.

This year saw Likatola claim third place at the Africa Cup Division 2 championship in Rwanda in May before ending the year with a 31-11 victory over Malawi away from home in August.

In total, Lesotho has won four of its seven international matches since its debut in 2014.
“We were also supposed to compete with other countries, to play away and be able to host games and we did all that,” Motšeremeli said.
“Playing a draw in these games puts you in a good position and we won most of our games. Even losing still puts you in a good position because Rugby Africa looks at the teams you were playing against, not just that you lost the game. They look at your performance,” he said.

With Lesotho looking to play two Test matches in Asia sometime next year, Motšeremeli expressed hope FLR would receive full membership despite the competition it faces in Botswana.

“There are about 14 countries that have requested membership, some are new, some want full membership,” he said.

“There are countries like Nigeria, Malawi and others which have been practising rugby for over 20 years and for us it has only been for four years. (Rugby Africa) might say ‘wait a little bit’ as only five countries will be given (full) membership.”
Motšeremeli concluded: “I think we have achieved a lot within a short space of time. We have done everything that was required. The high school tournament just ended and our league is going very well.”

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