MASERU – British rider Graham Jarvis, who rides for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, is set to miss this year’s edition of the Roof of Africa.
Jarvis’ name has become synonymous with the Roof of Africa having attended almost every event over the last seven years.
He is also one of the race’s most successful racers having won the title in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
Jarvis will be a big miss and, in his absence, defending champion Wade Young, who rides for Sherco is expected to battle it out with the likes of Manuel Letternbichler, who rides for KTM Factory Racing.
Brett Swanepoel of Husqvarna Racing and Travis Teasdale of ASP Rope McLaren’s Racing are some of the other top riders who will grace the annual motorbike event.
Young made history back in 2012 when, at 16 years old, he became the race’s youngest ever winner when he beat Jarvis. Young has gone on to win the Roof of Africa six times — in 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021. He goes into the weekend’s enduro as the favourite.
The annual spectacle kicks off today with the Round of House stage at the Maseru Club.
The racers will go around downtown, pass near the Chinese embassy and return to the starting point.
Each group of riders will do the circuit three times while also entertaining onlookers.
The Round of House is the only stage during the Roof of Africa that happens in town and is meant to give the public some entertainment and a glimpse of what to expect on Friday and Saturday when the race goes off-road.
The riders started arriving in the country on Tuesday and the documentation check was done yesterday to ensure everyone registered had arrived and provide a briefing on the race.
The Lesotho Off-Road Association (LORA) spokesperson, Lehlohonolo Taela, said there are six riders from Lesotho competing this year. Tobatsi Maseatile, Timello Tšolo, Basia Maseatile, Besele Malakane and Shabeer Moosa will all be competing in the bronze class while Peter Andrews will be in the iron class.
The gold class, which is for the elite races with the particular skillset to navigate hard terrain, will do the Enduro cross.
This is a short but gruelling cross where the riders will get the chance to showboat their skills and what makes them the elite racers. The bronze and iron class will do a time trial to see how they will line up for the race.
Explaining how the route will go, LORA Chief Marshall Tiki said the start and finishing point will be at Lekhalong La Baroa.
On Friday, the riders will go through Ha Khanyetsi, then they will separate with the bronze and iron class taking the Ha Mofoqohi direction while the silver and gold will go to Rapo-le-boea.
On Saturday, the classes will separate again at ‘Mankuluba.
The silver and gold will take the Snake Bite direction and they will go through Ha Nqheku then back to Lekhalong-la-Baroa.
When the elite riders arrive, they will have a stop for petrol and then go out for a short ride through Molimo-Nthuse for what has been dubbed as a spectacular finish.
Likuena’s international matches woes continue
LIKUENA’S uncomfortable hosting of their international matches in South Africa will not come to an end any time soon.
This is because Lesotho’s only national stadium, which was the only CAF-approved facility about three years ago, remains unapproved after CAF found it seriously wanting.
CAF made recommendations on what needs to be fixed then, and the government has been making promises but little has come out of them.
Two weeks ago the government, through the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC), wrote to Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) telling them that the state of the national stadium has not changed.
The letter was a response after the association’s enquiry for an update on the status of the ground.
The association had been told that there was no money for the renovations.
“The status of Setsoto Stadium has not changed. That is all the concerns raised by CAF have not yet been attended to,” the LSRC told LEFA.
The developments required by CAF include massive renovation, re-grassing, installing modern floodlights and a standby generator.
This update from the government is also bad news to the Premier League teams as the winner of the league will not be enrolled in the CAF Champions League unless the stadium is put back to required standards.
Last year in November, LEFA announced that quit CAF’s continental club competitions until further notice.
Bantu are currently leading the table with three points ahead of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).
Should any of them win they would not enjoy the benefits of competing internationally.
When suspending Lesotho’s participation in continental club competitions, LEFA cited high costs of hosting games in South Africa because of the Setsoto’s unavailability.
Likuena will host Zambia in Dobsonville Stadium in March in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.
LEFA responds to Chief Theko’s attacks
MASERU-THE Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) has reacted angrily and furiously to Thaba-Bosiu Principal Chief Khoabane Theko’s baseless and malicious attack.
At the funeral of the late Seepheephe Matete last weekend, the outspoken Chief is said to have attacked the association’s president, advocate Salemane Phafane, and secretary general, Mokhosi Mohapi.
The association issued a statement on Wednesday, expressing their disgust at the chief’s remarks.
The association said it was saddening to hear Chief Theko abuse and misuse the platform he was given at the funeral to mislead and deceive the nation on administrative matters about which he had no knowledge of.
Instead of using the platform to honour the late football legend, Chief Theko saw it as an opportunity to make ill-conceived and misguided accusations against the association’s leadership.
“Firstly, Chief Khoabane claimed that building of stadia in the country is the responsibility of the association. The Chief who knows nothing about football administration would have known, if he had done his homework that football associations do not construct stadiums.” The statement said.
“This is the responsibility of the government and municipalities. The Chief has been part of the Governments of Lesotho, and should have [played] his part to ensure that stadia are built in Lesotho instead of sitting on his laurels and continuing to draw government salaries which he continues to date.” It continued.
LEFA says Chief Theko exposed his naivety when he claimed Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena is the only facility that the association has built. LEFA has to date built three technical centres that are ready and already being used to host Premier League matches.
One centre at Bambatha is nearing full completion, the other two in Mohale’s Hoek and Maputsoe are fully functional. The artificial turf at Setsoto stadium was installed by the assoccition, they are also in the process of building similar centres in Thaba- Tseka, Quthing, Berea and Ha Mabote.
“The leadership of football in the country wishes to refresh Chief Khoabane’s failing memory that it was only in November 2019, when current FIFA president Gianni Infantino and his delegation visited the Mountain Kingdom, as opposed to his misinformed claims that the FIFA president last visited Lesotho during Sepp Blatter’s tenure in office.” It said.
“It does not come as a surprise that Chief Khoabane was openly and publicly denounced by another Chief at the same funeral. Something is self-inflicted as a result of Chief Khoabane’s playing to the gallery which has turned him into a laughing stock.” It continued.
The association urged the Chief to familiarise himself with football matters, and also to refrain hijacking other people’s funerals as a platform for his misinformation as the leadership of football will take him on if he wishes.
Moment of silence for Matete, Ntepane
MASERU – Vodacom Premier League clubs and all the leagues under the auspices of the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) will observe a moment of silence for the late Seephephe Matete and Salang Ntepane.
Some league fixtures last weekend paid their respects to Ntepane before the matches by bowing their heads in silence for a moment.
Ntepane was a referee and he died last week after an illness.
Mochini, as Matete was affectionately known in Lesotho football, died on Sunday after an illness. Condolences have been coming in from all corners as clubs and players have been paying their respects to the former Likuena coach.
Matete was one of the longest serving members of Lesotho’s football fraternity and his death has come as a shock.
Former Likuena coach Thabo Senong, who is now back in his home country, South Africa, also joined the masses in remembering the fallen giant.
LEFA said it remembers Matete and Ntepane for their service and contribution to football.
One of the big Vodacom Premier League matches this weekend will see Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) take on Linare at the LCS Ground.
Linare may still be on honeymoon with their new coach Leslie Notši as they find themselves flying high in third place, however, their record against ‘Masheshena’ is quite concerning.
They have played each other 11 times since 2014 and LCS has the upper-hand winning the fixture seven times. Linare has won twice and two matches have ended in draws.
LCS are hoping to pile more pressure on the log leaders Bantu and keep their title aspirations alive with a win over Linare.
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