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LNOC forced into re-elections



Maseru – THE Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) has been forced into snap re-elections after its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to prevent the balloting failed.

The LNOC, which originally held elections in February, has set the new polls for tomorrow but it remains to be seen whether they will end the existing discord between the mother body and member associations.

What is clear, though, is that, in calling for a fresh ballot, the LNOC’s hand has been forced by unhappy members.

The almost year-long saga began in February when the Olympic Committee held executive polls which saw its entire board headed by president ‘Matlohang Moiloa-Ramoqopo elected for another four-year term in office.

Other members of the re-elected executive were Tlali Rampooana, Letsatsi Ntsibilane, advocate Tšepo Ntaopane, Dr Lebohang Khomari, Moshoeshoe Molapo, Thabang ‘Matefelo Mokhehle, Dr Makhetha Mosotho and Makutloano Kheola.

However, immediately after the elections five member associations – the Lesotho Netball Association (LNA), Federation of Dance Sport Lesotho (FEDALE), Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA), Lesotho Swimmers Association (LSA) and Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) – claimed the ballot was illegitimate because the candidates were self-nominated.

The associations lodged a complaint with the Transformation Resource Centre electoral commission (TRC), an independent body which oversaw the elections, and mediation with the LNOC overseen by Advocate Monaheng Rasekoai was started at the end of February.

A month later, however, the Olympic Committee withdrew from the arbitration process saying it was hindering its administration.

Regardless, Advocate Rasekoai delivered his verdict at the end of August. He declared the February elections unlawful and ordered a fresh ballot to be held within a week.

Unhappy with Rasekoai’s judgement, the LNOC in September appealed to CAS – a Switzerland based judicial body which settles sports related disputes through arbitration – to overturn his decision.

However, the LNOC’s bid failed and on Monday it sent out a memo announcing new elections will be held on Friday.

The outcome, however, is a mixed bag for estranged LNOC member associations.

LAAA public relations officer Sejanamane Maphathe, for example, said although his association is pleased at re-elections, it is upset they will be overseen by the current LNOC executive.

He was also not happy that the elections were to be held at such short notice.

“We are happy with the decision to hold fresh elections because that’s what we wanted all along,” Maphathe said.

“However, we are disappointed that the same people whom we were complaining about are the ones preparing the elections.”

He added: “Remember, it was at the end of August when the arbitrator ordered fresh elections within a week but that did not happen because LNOC took the appeal to CAS. It was only on Friday when we learnt they failed.”

“We were hoping that there will be independent people, with the help of Transformation Resource Centre, to draw a roadmap to the new elections because it does not help if it is still the same people (who will oversee the elections),” Maphathe said.

“It is only on Monday when we heard that we have until Wednesday to collect the nomination forms. I feel we have just been given a raw deal here because these elections are still going to be conducted by the same people,” he said.

LNA president Moipone Mashale, meanwhile, said her association had consulted with its lawyers over the validity of Friday’s elections if they will involve the current LNOC executive.

“We have consulted with our lawyers regarding that for advice and they have told us not to comment until they get back to us,” she said.

For his part, the LNOC public relations officer, Moshoeshoe Molapo, labelled tomorrow’s elections a way to resolve issues between the Olympic body and its associations. He appeared dismayed the re-elections are being interpreted as an indictment of the LNOC’s handling of February’s elections.

“It’s a pity that the re-election could be explained as a victory or defeat. To us (LNOC), we see it as a solution,” Molapo said.

“We are preparing for the elections this Friday. We failed to meet the conditions of the (CAS) appeals therefore we have to hold elections again. After we decided to take an appeal, we had no choice but to stay ready (in case our appeal at CAS was unsuccessful),” he said.

The current LNOC president, Moiloa-Ramopoqo, assumed the position in 2009 and is expected to run again for a third term in office. She will be challenged for the Olympic committee’s top job by former Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission president Limpho Mokhochane.

Luciah 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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