Cycling body struggles to raise funds

Cycling body struggles to raise funds

 

Luciah Phahla

Maseru

Preparations to host the 2016 African Continental Mountain Bike (MTB) Championships are on course, despite a lack of funds, says Lesotho Cycling Association (LCA) president Sehaole Mpopo.

The championships are scheduled to take place from March 30 to April 3 and carry Olympic qualifying points. Various African countries that are yet to qualify for Rio 2016 are expected to compete.

So far, four countries – Swaziland, Mauritius, Rwanda and South Africa – have confirmed their participation alongside hosts Lesotho.

Mauritius, Rwanda and South Africa have already qualified for Rio through the 2015 African MTB Championships that were held in Rwanda.

Lesotho missed that event because of a lack of funds and Mpopo said the LCA is now struggling to secure finance to host this year’s edition.

Mpopo said the association is hoping to be bailed out by the Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation.

“Preparations are at advanced stage and we will go on with the plans to host the championships because they carry Olympic qualifying points. We are expecting different countries but so far its only Swaziland, Mauritius, Rwanda and South Africa that have confirmed their participation and then Lesotho,” Mpopo said.

“We have not yet received funding from the ministry but it has promised to ask for money from other ministries since the government’s financial year is about to end,” he said.

Nonetheless, Mpopo said there was no chance Lesotho would pull out of hosting the African MTB Championships even if the LCA does not receive funds from the Ministry of Sport.

“There is no chance that we will cancel the tournament. If we do not get funding from the ministry we will have to go out and seek the money or borrow it,” Mpopo insisted.

The 2015 African MTB Championships in Rwanda were the main route for African countries to qualify for September’s Olympic Games in Rio.

However, there is still an outside chance for Lesotho to make it to the Olympics since it is ranked second in Africa and 41st in the world.

 

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