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Phamotse breathes fire



MASERU – Lesotho’s Minister of Sports, Dr Mahali Phamotse, has hit out at the director of Public Debt Management, Khotso Moleleki, over the cancellation of a deal between the government and South African company, Property 2000. The deal, which was negotiated last October, was due to make Property 2000 the financier of the new sports facilities set to be constructed for the upcoming African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games in Maseru in December.

The construction was scheduled to include an indoor sports complex and a covered 40 000 all-seated stadium in Lepereng.
The building of the facilities as well as a games village to accommodate 3 000 athletes at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) Roma campus was to total M2.4 billion.
The cancellation of the deal with Property 2000 has cast doubt over the project but Phamotse insisted construction of the new stadium and sports facilities will go ahead.
She said the Ministry of Finance will finance the project as constructors have already been given assurances to go ahead with the job.

The Public Debt Management wants the minister to give it a study report on Setsoto Stadium to ascertain if the national stadium can be demolished and reconstructed.
However, Phamotse said that will not happen and insisted she would not let go of the only stadium the country has while she is already fighting for a new one to be built in Lepereng.
This week Moleleki accused the ministry of refusing to explore a cheaper option of taking down Setsoto and said the ministry is persisting with more expensive alternatives.
However, in an interview with thepost on Monday, Phamotse insisted Lesotho has no choice but to build a new stadium, not only for the AUSC 2020 Games but for the 2022 African Youth Games also set to be held in the country.

Phamotse stood her ground in her opposition of the demolition of Setsoto saying the implications will be bigger financially and it will also impact the national team, Likuena, as they will have nowhere to play their home games. “I am not going to advise the government to demolish the (Setsoto) stadium; I cannot advise people to take Setsoto stadium down just because they are refusing to build a new one,” Phamotse told thepost.

“I cannot let go of this stadium if we don’t build a new one, we have to build that one (in Lepereng) and say we have two (stadiums). What I will not do is to demolish this one while I am already fighting to build a new one,” she said. “At the moment what we want is to have the ground and the seats (in Lepereng). We do not have a choice, we have to build the stadium because we need natural grass, we need the athletics track because the one at Setsoto doesn’t qualify at all,” Phamotse added.

With the deal with Property 2000 now seemingly off, the minister said she believes the finance ministry may have another financier.
Phamotse also said the sports ministry has a relationship with Property 2000 and the South African company remains ready to fund the AUSC Games project to the tune of M2.4 billion.
She insisted Moleleki’s office was not coerced into anything and instead has been negotiating and holding meetings with Property 2000’s directors for four months but Moleleki is now turning around claiming he has been pressured into the whole deal.

“Who pressurised (sic) him? I don’t get it,” Phamotse said. “(We) took four months working on this. He agreed; he was speaking to the financier, holding meetings. Who was forcing him? What do I have (that can) force people to do work and they fail to say no? The (AUSC) games will continue, they didn’t say they will not finance the project,” she said.

“If there is no way to finance the project, we have relationships with people who say they want to give us M2.4 billion. We signed with the contractors. Lesotho will be in trouble if we plan something and do it, but at the end someone says he was coerced. I thought (Moleleki) was saying something else when he says his office was coerced. There will be litigation against Lesotho even without construction,” Phamotse said.

The minister admitted if there is no financier, the project will be greatly affected. However, Phamotse insisted the Ministry of Finance has made promises to find the money.
“What I can say is the construction will go on. We don’t have a problem if finance (ministry) no longer has a good relationship with the financier,” Phamotse said.
“On the grounds, they have already started with their own money because there is agreement between them and the financiers, they are continuing and the games will continue.”
“The broken relations will affect the project but finance ministry has promised us that they will find the money for the construction of the stadium and if they say that I don’t think there is a problem. Maybe they have another financier that I am not aware of.”

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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