THE Lesotho netball under-20 coach Munyaradzi Shanduka has lashed out at the Lesotho Netball Association (LNA) and accused the organisation of sabotaging his team.
Munyaradzi said this after the netball team was pulled off the list of local teams which are set to represent the country in the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 games scheduled for Botswana in December.
The team was withdrawn after the after LNA failed to submit the list of traveling players to the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC).
The developments follow an impasse between Munyaradzi and team manager Matšepo ‘Musi due to an unresolved 2016 beating of Leqele High School players by LCS players.
‘Musi ever since appointed the team manager complained to the LSRC that Munyaradzi had refused to work with her.
She also alleged that Munyaradzi had indicated that parents of Leqele High School players had refused to let their kids associate with anyone from LCS team after the 2016 assault case.
The LSRC however, said it was the LNA’s responsibility to resolve the matter.
The LNA failed to resolve the matter leading the LSRC to leave out the team from the AUSC Games which are scheduled for December 2018 in Gaborone.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Express recently, Munyaradzi lashed out at the LNA president, Sheila Moluoane, saying she reneged resolving the conflict due to her bitterness after she was removed from the team manager position after was elected LNA president in March this year.
“It is painful that some people want to point fingers at me as if I am the one who caused this team to be pulled out from the AUSC games squad,” Munyaradzi said.
“This issue has nothing to do with me but it has is all about our netball association which failed to act accordingly on a case where LCS players assaulted my players during the league finals back in 2016. On numerous times, our principal at Leqele has pleaded with the LNA to intervene and take disciplinary action against the LCS players but nothing has been done.
“So, the school board decided that they do not want their kids anywhere near LCS people and since Musi was the LCS manager at the time the players were assaulted, the parents of the players cannot trust her with their kids.”
Munyaradzi said the LNA president has always come up with excuses whenever she was asked to intervene. He has he has also indicated that he does not want to work with Musi but the president was uninterested in attending top the matter.
“When I told them that I cannot work with ‘Musi she didn’t have any interest in attending to the matter and maybe it’s because she was removed as the team manager after she was elected the LNA president in March this year.
“I think this is the reason for which Moluoane is refusing to attend to the matter. It is surprising that everything was ok when she was still the team manager and we even planned training camps for the team in Kenya and Uganda during the Winter holidays but surprisingly her interest just vanished and the trip failed to materialise.
“I had sourced a sponsor for that trip and what the LNA was only supposed to do was write a letter for me to authenticate my request but when I approached Moluoane she kept giving me excuses until the sponsor chickened out,” Munyaradzi said.
Munyaradzi said he attempted to submit the list of players that were supposed to travel to Botswana to the LSRC multiple times before the deadline without any success.
“Long before the deadline, I tried to give the LSRC the list of my players but I was sent from pillar to post. Even up to now nobody has bothered to alert me that our team has been pulled out. I only learnt about it from the media.
“I think the sports commission also took advantage of the situation because they have been complaining about having a tight budget. So, the delayed submission of the team list situation made it easier for them to just withdraw my team,” he said.
Munyaradzi said that he was still willing to help the team and pleaded with the LSRC to register them and he would sponsor the team’s trip to Botswana.
“What I want now is for the LSRC to register the team for the Botswana games because I don’t want to shatter the players’ dreams. These kids have sacrificed so much for the Botswana games and they have the potential of bringing gold medals to the country.
“We are still training because there is no formal communication about the team being withdrawn from the trip but since the LSRC doesn’t have money I am willing to sponsor the team. I can organise transport and accommodation for them and all I am asking is for the LSRC to just register them,” Shanduka said.
On her part, Moluoane rubbished Munyaradzi’s claims that she was uninterested to solve the impasse and said she was keen for the sport to thrive.
“The success of netball is my success too as the president of the association and I don’t see why I would sabotage the team. That is an absolute lie.
“I saw potential in that team and I also hoped that they would for once bring us medals but unfortunately things took a bad turn immediately after the LSRC removed me as the team manger because I was now the president so I couldn’t do both.
“The LNA was advised to select a new manager and Matšepo was the one selected and surprisingly the coach (Shanduka) said he would not work with her. I tried to reason with him that the appointments have been made and his worry was now to get the team ready for the games.”
Moluoane said all the plans she had made with Munyaradzi were handed over to her successor but they couldn’t materialise because of their poor working relationship.
She also denied that LNA failed to mediate between the LCS-Leqele impasse and said she remembers the LCS players involved in the fiasco being taken to task by their management.
“I was still the treasurer of LNA when this fight happened and although I don’t have the full details, I vividly remember that LCS reporting that the perpetrators of the violence were taken to task by their administration. Leqele still continued to play LCS in tournaments and also at some point would allow some of their players to play for LCS in tournaments.
“Of course, I promised to go and meet with the Leqele principal but unfortunately, I failed due to my work commitments but I still communicated with him that I would not make it,” Moluoane said.