Rugby boss absolves LNOC

Rugby boss absolves LNOC

MASERU – The Federation of Lesotho Rugby (FLR) has distanced itself from comments made by the federation’s general secretary, Litšitso Motšeremeli, to this paper about the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC).
Speaking two weeks ago, Motšeremeli blamed the LNOC for the mess up in flight tickets that caused the national side Likatola to arrive for last month’s 2018 Rugby Africa Regional Sevens South tournament in Burundi late.

Likatola finished second at the showpiece losing 15-5 to the Democratic Republic of Congo in the final which cost Lesotho an opportunity to qualify for next year’s Africa Men’s Sevens.
However, speaking last Tuesday, FLR president Fetang Selialia, said there has been a miscommunication between the federation’s members about whose fault it was for the problems Likatola encountered on their way to Burundi.

Selialia said Likatola were shocked when they arrived at OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa to board a flight to Burundi only to be told they must produce a letter from the Burundi embassy. He went on to clarify that their flight tickets were cancelled by Caesar’s Travel Agency which had been tasked by the LNOC to handle the team’s travelling duties.
He said Likatola asked for their tickets not to be cancelled while they went to the Burundi embassy in Pretoria only for the tickets to be cancelled regardless.
The team was forced to buy new tickets and the money they had was not enough to buy everyone a ticket and some players had to be sent back home.

“There was a miscommunication. I was part of the team travelling to Burundi as president and team manager, our flight was going to leave at 3pm and we arrived at 7am at the airport,” Selialia said. “We had a letter from Burundi that said that we would get our visas upon arrival at the (OR Tambo) airport but to our surprise when we got to the airport we were told we needed a letter from the Burundi embassy before we could board the plane,” he added.

“We asked for our tickets not to be taken as a no-show while we sort things out with the Burundi embassy, only for a travel agent, Caesar’s Travel, to cancel them so we were forced to buy new tickets and sent some players back home,” he said.

“The LNOC has helped us a lot over the years it is not fair to blame them for this. It was just a miscommunication and incompetence from our side too that we relied on the letter we had from Burundi Rugby and did not do research of what else we may need to travel to Burundi. Had we done research we would have gone to the Burundi embassy in time, so LNOC is not in the wrong here, they help us a lot.”

Speaking on behalf of LNOC, the head of sports services, Mark West, insisted it is not fair for LNOC to be blamed for the debacle.
He said the LNOC has supported rugby in the best way it possibly can and is also still trying to understand why Likatola’s tickets were cancelled.
West said the Caesar’s Travel agency gave the LNOC an explanation but the committee is still trying to get to the bottom of the issue.

Luciah Phahla

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