Feuding LVA executives strike deal

Feuding LVA executives strike deal

MASERU-The Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) on Tuesday announced a compromise agreement between executive members of the Lesotho Volleyball Association (LVA) for “the betterment of local volleyball” as the country prepares to host next year’s African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games.

The development is positive news for the LVA which has been plagued by non-stop conflict since 2016.
The infighting had become so poisonous that it threatened to tear apart the association leading to intervention from the LNOC, Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC) and the sport’s continental governing body – the African Volleyball Confederation – in efforts to broker peace.

The current LVA executive committee was elected in March 2017 saying it aimed to return local volleyball to its more successful days such as 2010 when Redskins triumphed at the regional Zone 6 Club Championships.
There seemed to be some headway in that regard when Redskins finished third at the Zone 6 tournament in December 2017 to qualify Lesotho for the African Club Championship for the first time in eight years but it did not stop squabbling between new executive members and those loyal to former LVA president William Nhlapo.

Constant disagreements continued over several issues, including the amendment of the body’s constitution, which led to high-level mediation as eyes begin to focus on Lesotho ahead of the 2020 AUSC Region 5 Games and 2022 African Youth Games, both of which the country will host.
Volleyball is one of the sporting codes in which Lesotho will compete at both events and the LNOC felt the need to resolve disputes within the LVA which it felt not only compromised the country’s preparations, but were threatening the future of volleyball in Lesotho.

Speaking on behalf of the LNOC and LSRC on Tuesday, LNOC chief executive officer Morake Raleaka said the compromise was finally reached in December after talks with African Volleyball Confederation (CAVB) president Amr El Wani who came to Lesotho to intervene.
Raleaka, who also spoke for the LVA, said all feuding parties within the association have agreed to leave their differences in the past.

“Sometime in 2016 there were issues that came between the members of (the) Lesotho Volleyball Association at the executive committee level. The (LVA) itself tried everything to resolve the issues they had at the time (but) the issues continued to a point where the LNOC and LSRC were invited to take part in trying to resolve them,” Raleaka said.

“After the two mother-bodies (LNOC and LSRC) got involved, we got to a point where the constitution of the association forced (the LVA) to go for elections (in March 2017). We thought by going for elections we would be able to resolve the issues within the association but we realised the issues were still not resolved. We had to sit down and try to find a way to put the matters to bed,” he added.
Africa’s governing body, CAVB, was then roped in.

“The LNOC had to report (the conflict) to structures which Lesotho Volleyball Association is a part of outside the country (such as the African Volleyball Confederation),” Raleaka said.
“Unfortunately, while we were still trying to resolve the matter, we were told by the (African) Volleyball Confederation that because of the pre-existing issues between the new (LVA) committee and some members of the old committee, (the CAVB) would not be able to allow the new committee to function at continental level – the members would not be allowed to take part in any (CAVB) meetings or any commissions,” he said.

Raleaka said El Wani held several meetings with all parties on his visit to Lesotho, including members of the new LVA committee led by Mpho Palime, former LVA president William Nhlapo and representatives of the LNOC and LSRC.
“We reached a compromise where we said for the sake of the players and the sport in the country, and for the growth of volleyball on a continental level, we have to compromise in order for the association to go forward. It was agreed that everything that has happened should be forgotten,” Raleaka said.

“It doesn’t help that volleyball continues to suffer especially when Lesotho is going to host the Region 5 Games in 2020 as well as the African Youth Games in 2022.”

Tlalane Phahla

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