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AUSC 2020 can change athletes’ lives

by Sunday Express
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Moorosi Tsiane

LOCAL athletes have struggled to shine on different platforms for several years.

Numerous reasons have been given for the lacklustre performances among which is the lack of infrastructure.

On the different occasions that the issues dogging our sports are discussed, the government has continued with its work as if everything is normal. The officials act as if they have heard nothing even when it is clear the issues raised have left athletes and ordinary and citizens alike frustrated.

Often, the athletes get inadequate time to prepare due to “lack of funds” to send them to other better equipped countries for preparation.

Building sporting facilities would be the much-needed investment in the future and will also reduce the expenses incurred by our athletes when they go to other countries to prepare for international events.

It will also help national federations to hold their different competitions without any hesitation. The federations can also raise funds for their day to day running instead of continued dependence on their annual subvention from the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission. After all, what they get from the LSRC is inadequate for their operations.

Now there is a ray of hope after Lesotho was announced as the next host of the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 games. The games will be hosted by Botswana this year.

Hosting such games requires infrastructure and it is my prayer that, maybe this time around, our government will deliver.

On Thursday, a 13-member team was tasked with preparing for the biennial games scheduled for December 2020.

The team, which without any doubt, will be faced with a mammoth task, is led by former Ministry of Trade and Industry principal secretary, Fusi Notoane. He is deputised by the Recreation Manager at the Ministry of Sports, Moleboheng Sefali.

My experience, after attending the games two year ago in Angola, tells me it is not easy to manage such a feat where the country is expected to host thousands of athletes.

While two years may seem a fair time to prepare for such games, I do not think that it is enough for Lesotho given the status of the few facilities that we have.

We have a long way in terms of infrastructure and we all know how tedious a process it is to get the money from the relevant authorities when it comes to sports related matters.

It was the same case in 2013 when the country was scheduled to host the under-20 COSAFA tournament. Some of the stadia that were meant to host the games are yet to be completed five years down the line.

I just hope that this time around the corporate world will be convinced to invest into the project.

Potentially, the 2020 games can improve the lives of local athletes forever.

To the ladies and gentleman in the organising committee, we will be watching and we are expecting nothing but sheer commitment to ensure that this event is held successfully.

Let the work begin!

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