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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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Rabale eyes Champions League glory



Lesotho women’s team captain Boitumelo Rabale has her eyes on winning her second CAF Women’s Champions League with Mamelodi Sundowns as the tournament gets underway this weekend.
The third edition of the prestigious women’s club football is scheduled for Ivory Coast from November 5-19, where eight clubs will battle it out to be crowned Queens of the continent.

“Queen”, as the Lesotho star is commonly known, was part of the Sundowns squad that was crowned champions of the inaugural edition of the tournament held in Egypt two years ago, becoming the first player from the Mountain Kingdom to taste Champions League success.
She has become one of the key players in Jerry Tshabalala’s squad having walked away with the Hollywoodbets Player of the Season in the previous campaign and currently leads the goal-scoring charts with 21 goals.

“It was exciting to win the CAF Women’s Champions League with Sundowns two years ago and in the process becoming the first player from Lesotho to do so,” Rabale said.

“I felt very lucky and honoured to make history. It gave me confidence to continue working hard and strive for more success with the club”
Sundowns head to the tournament as regional champions after clinching the COSAFA qualifiers to qualify for the continental showpiece, where they will kickstart their campaign against Tanzania’s JKT Queens on Sunday.

Rabale admitted that memories of losing the last final to AS FAR still haunts them, but they head to Ivory Coast a better team than in the last tournament.

“We learnt the hard way when we lost in the final to AS FAR and we come back a better team having rectified our mistakes.

“It’s our dream to conquer the continent again and I have no doubt that we have what it takes to get our second star in Ivory Coast.

“It will be very good to add the second CAF Champions League medal to my trophy cabinet,” she said.

The 27-year-old has been prolific for Sundowns this campaign having scored nine goals in her last five matches to take her tally for this campaign to 21 goals.
Sundowns are in Group A alongside tournament hosts, Athletico Abidjan, Sporting Casablanca of Morocco, as well as Tanzania’s JKT Queen.

Since joining Sundowns in 2021, Rabale has won the Hollywoodbets Super League twice, the COSAFA Zonal qualifiers twice as well as the CAF Women’s Champions League and is the reigning Hollywoodbets Player of the season.

Tlalane Phahla

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Red Skins fail to raise funds for championship



Lesotho volleyball giants Red Skins have failed to raise funds for the 2023 Zone 6 Senior Indoor Volleyball Club Championship they are set to host in December.

Red Skins will host the competition together with four other local volleyball clubs – Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), Lesotho Mounted Police Station (LMPS) and Rivers – and the tournament is expected to start on December 7 and end 10 days later.

Without any funds or sponsors coming in, Red Skins will have to foot the bill from their pockets for the tournament which will see teams from 10 countries converge on Maseru.

Among the participating nations, Botswana is expected to bring the biggest contingent with 12 teams, with Zambia following closely behind with nine teams while Zimbabwe is set to be represented by six teams.

Two weeks ago, Red Skins participated in the Elite Cup in Gauteng, South Africa, which was hosted by Aqua Darshan Volleyball.
Red Skins hoped to win the tournament and return home with a hefty jackpot but they only collected M5 000 which was won by the men’s team.

A gala dinner that Red Skins hosted last weekend also failed to generate income due to low attendance and speaking to thepost on Tuesday, the club’s vice-captain, Moleboheng Mofolo, said they will have to push on with what they have to host the tournament.
Mofolo said they no longer have time to come up with other means to raise funds.

“Tournaments will require us to find sponsorships and we do not have time now, we have to focus and train well,” Mofolo said.

“Our coach already told us to camp from this week but rain is our biggest challenge because we cannot continue with the training,” she added.

Mofolo said Red Skins are fortunate that participating teams are going to take care of their accommodation and catering. She said if Red Skins had to provide those services, they would not have been able to manage.

She pleaded with individuals, organisations and companies to help the team, whether it is by offering accommodation, food, or whatever little they may have.

Tlalane Phahla

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Giants avoid each other in Top 4 clash



Women Super League (WSL) giants Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Ladies and Kick4Life Ladies have avoided each other in the WSL Top 4 knockout competition.
The two-day showpiece takes centre stage this weekend at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena and it will see last season’s top four finishers in the league – LDF, Kick4Life, Lijabatho and Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Ladies – go head-to-head for bragging rights.

The draw for the competition took place last Friday and the semi-finals will see LDF go up against Lijabatho while Kick4Life will take on LMPS Ladies.
Both semi-finals will be played on Saturday with the tournament culminating the following day.

Sunday’s proceedings will kick-off with a third-place playoff game to determine who walks away with the bronze medals before the final later in the day.
All four games over the two days will be streamed on the FIFA+ website and the WSL Top 4 will usher in a new sponsor this year.

In the past, the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) fully bankrolled the competition, however, Computer Business Solutions (CBS) has come on board with a sponsorship for the first time.

The competition’s prize monies have not been revealed because they are still being finalised, but, speaking at last Friday’s draw, LEFA’s associations secretary general, Mokhosi Mohapi, said the relationship with CBS is one that sport should engage in.
Mohapi added his hopes that the relationship will be a long-term one.

“While others are busy at their thing, we should really grow ours so that when their distraction finally ends, they find us as united as we can be as the football community,” Mohapi said.
“(We should be) united by the efforts and inputs that emanate from the business community, especially when it is a truly Lesotho business entity because other (foreign entities) are here to take money,” he said.

Addressing CBS as the tournament’s sponsor, Mohapi said: “We are thankful as LEFA for your initiative; (we) hope you will be in this marriage quite long. We know we are just testing the waters but we have a lot that can entice you to stay longer, not only my command but the instruments that we have.”

Mohapi said LEFA’s dream is that in two years’ time all league matches will be streaming on the FIFA+ platform which was launched last April by football’s world governing body to increase exposure of men and women’s football around the globe.

Currently, only three grounds in the country have the structures for broadcasting; Bambatha as well as the grounds at LDF and Lesotho Correctional Service grounds, and all are in Maseru.
LEFA plans to add more grounds to the list with the DIFA facilities in Maputsoe and Mohale’s Hoek set to be the first to follow suit.

“All our women’s competitions, cup competitions and (Vodacom) Premier League matches that will be played in those stadia that have our infrastructure – we will be able to stream those games internationally,” Mohapi said.

“We have extended our footprint,” he added.

“We are now doing LDF – we have already put up the structure – then we are moving to Maputsoe and, hopefully, Mohale’s Hoek. It is our desire that in two years’ time we will hopefully cover all the matches and put them on the FIFA+ streaming platform.”

WSL Top 4 fixtures:
Saturday (Bambatha)
Lijabatho Ladies vs. LDF Ladies
LMPS Ladies vs. Kick4Life Ladies

Tlalane Phahla

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