Likatola off to Zambia

Likatola off to Zambia

Maseru – Lesotho’s rugby sevens team will depart to Zambia next Monday to compete in the International Lusaka Rugby Sevens Tournament from August 30 to September 5. Likatola will be one of seven sides competing for the first-ever Lusaka title.
The other contenders are Malawi, Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, favourites South Africa and hosts Zambia.

The showpiece will also mark Lesotho’s debut in an international rugby sevens tournament – the reduced version of the game.
Last May in Rwanda, Lesotho came third at the Africa Division 2 Cup in rugby’s traditional 15-a-side format and Likatola team manager Letsielo Mabitle said the side is ready to repeat the same heroics in the shortened sevens competition.

“I am confident enough to say that our national rugby sevens team is equipped with enough skills to raise the Kingdom’s flag high,” he told thepost.
“The team has been going through intense training to ensure that they come back home with nothing but an incredible performance,” he added.
Rugby Sevens is a growing sport and last August in Rio was part of the Olympic Games for the first time due to its popularity.

The sport continued to gain momentum worldwide in the 12 months since and the response from Lesotho’s sporting public has been equally positive.
“Rugby Sevens is an exciting, fast-paced sport that is growing in global popularity, participation and interest,” Mabitle said.
“We have brought together the best-of-the-best for this international Sevens Rugby tournament.”

“It’s a great opportunity to expose the sport to a mass audience. It’s an important time for us rugby supporters to help build on the momentum from the Olympics.” Mabitle labelled the potential of the International Lusaka Rugby Sevens Tournament as “limitless” and indications are the competition will be expanded to include a handful of qualifying tournaments as soon as next year.

He said Likatola have enticed several athletes to cross over from other sports, including Motheo Mokhothu who played football and volleyball before moving to rugby. Mabitle expects this to translate into wins. “The team should be competitive and is quite ready to challenge for the title,” he said.
“The Lesotho rugby team is one of the teams which are going to surprise and possibly pull off an upset. The team has been training hard and has some studs in the squad.”

“I expect them to bring the same sort of intensity (from the 15-a-side form of rugby) to the field of sevens,” Mabitle added.
“Our team has a lot of support from their institutions and will go into the (Lusaka) tournament fit and ready to play.”

Mosiuoa Frantsi

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