Big welcome for Team Lesotho

Big welcome for Team Lesotho

MASERU – Team Lesotho received a warm welcome on Tuesday at Victoria Hotel after their performance at the recent African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games held in Botswana.
The team was hailed for its displays at the championships held last week where Lesotho collected 13 medals.
Ten countries competed at the Region 5 games; Lesotho was represented in seven sporting codes and won four gold medals, three silver and six bronze.
Lesotho’s Region 5 Games team manager, Moorosi Thabisi, hailed the team’s athletes for their successes despite facing major challenges in their build-up to the games, foremost of which was limited time to prepare.

“On behalf of team managers we thank the Lesotho government and parents that allowed their kids to be part of our sports and their support; we thank coaches at club level and we thank athletes who worked hard to complete this duty,” Thabisi said.
“It was not easy to accomplish what we did,” he added.

“There was not enough time for preparations and that was our major challenge. Other countries spent 18 months preparing.”
Thabisi said the process to select a team to represent Lesotho at the AUSC 2020 Games, which will be held in the country, will get underway next month.
“2020 is around the corner and we are expecting massive support from the nation at large. From January 2019 we will be choosing our different teams for the 2020 games,” Thabisi said.
Speaking on behalf of the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC), Bahlakoana Shelile, said it is important to start preparing for the 2020 Games. He said the games in Botswana were a learning curve for Lesotho as the AUSC Games’ next hosts.

Lesotho finished seventh on the medal table with South Africa finishing as overall champions for 2018.
“The journey was very short from the preparations because we did not start on time, if we prepared the way we wanted we would be having more medals, 2018 is a learning curve to us,” Shelile said.
“It was not easy,” he said.

“Our first games were very tough and I learned that we have few things that we have to do to make our team a winning team. Netball had problems at first but they won their fourth game.
“We need more exposure in netball, exposure is important. We have to start preparing for 2020 while there is still time. To our coaches, there is a lot of work to be done. I saw that you have vision and in 2020 we will achieve,” Shelile said.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Tjoetsane Seoka, said Team Lesotho will have all the support they need for the 2020 AUSC Games in Maseru. He said the country is going to spend a lot of money to host the games and urged the team to perform well.
“We thank our athletes for their hard work, if it was not for them we would be ashamed but because you heard our advice, you then performed well. It was not easy. There were various challenges there,” Seoka said.

“In 2020 the (AUSC) games are coming to Lesotho, so let us all start our preparations in time. It is clear that we do not have resources but let us not hide behind that, we should just work hard not hide behind it,” he said.

Seoka added: “This time there is a budget to prepare for the upcoming games; you will have support from the nation, the government, your parents and your coaches. Lesotho is going to spend a lot of money when organising the games. The funds should (normally) be used to build hospitals in rural areas but the ministry decided to prepare for you, so it is your duty to go and make us proud.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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