Cash crisis  derails games

Cash crisis derails games

MASERU – Lesotho’s opening training camp ahead of next year’s African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games has been derailed by government’s failure to release funds.
The 2020 regional showcase will be held in Maseru for the first time and Team Lesotho was scheduled to get together from December 1 to 16 to begin preparations.

The Ministry of Sports was expected to issue funds to the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC) to facilitate the camp but that has not happened.
The LSRC says it requested a sum of M4 million from the ministry in October to give the ministry a month to process the funds but was told no money is available.

On Wednesday, Lesotho’s sports mother body met with the sports minister, Dr Mahali Phamotse, and other officials from the ministry where the LSRC was promised it will receive money “anytime from now.”
However, instead of M4 million, the amount will be M1 million and it remains to be seen when Team Lesotho’s training camp will go ahead.

Speaking to thepost on Wednesday, LSRC public relations officer Teboho Rakhomo said Lesotho is not ready to host the Region 5 Youth Games with the situation as it is.
He said a team for the games has been selected but it is not ready because it has not had an opportunity to train or compete in preparation.
LSRC says it is worried about government’s tendency of delaying funding and releasing money days before competitions.

Rakhomo said a similar situation would leave Team Lesotho with no time to prepare, potentially setting the country up for failure at the regional championships.
He said the LSRC will have to do its best with the M1 million promised by the ministry of sports, whenever it does receive the money.
“It is our responsibility as LSRC to prepare the team,” Rakhomo said.
“It has become a norm for the government to release money a day before we leave for (international) events and that affects the performance of the team.

It worries us because we want to prepare the team and in this financial year we have had no subvention to give to the federations (under the LSRC). The government said it will prepare the team, we gave the minister our plans (and) everything is ready from our side,” he explained.
Rakhomo said some athletes who represented Lesotho at the 2019 Africa Games in August in Morocco were only receiving their attire now.
“We were supposed to have had a training camp from December 1 until 16 but we have not done so because there is no money,” Rakhomo said.
“Like I said, it is a norm for the money to arrive late. Even now some of the athletes who went to the African Games were only getting their shoes last week. Attire contributes a lot towards an athlete’s comfort and sometimes they are forced to use old attire,” he added.

LSRC said it needs adequate money and time to prepare the athletes ahead of next year’s games in December.
Rakhomo said the LSRC wants to take the team outside the country to prepare but, as long as the situation persists, that will not happen and Lesotho will head into the Region 5 Youth Games under-prepared.
The teams that have been put together are the basketball, football, volleyball, netball, athletics and taekwondo squads.

“We are planning to host multiple training camps depending on each individual sporting code,” Rakhomo.
“There is talent but it is not prepared. With this team we are not ready for the (Region 5 Youth) Games. They need to have game time.”

Tlalane Phahla

 

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