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Big up to the chess federation

Moorosi Tsiane

TWO years back, the Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) made headlines for all the wrong reasons when their president Tšeliso Motloheloa was accused of misusing the funds from the World Chess Federation.

As if that was not enough, both the federation’s Secretary General Moshe Mokone and the vice president Lesaoana Mohale were also suspended for commenting on that issue on different media platforms.

However, the CFL didn’t allow all the negativity to pull it down and are now thriving and are gradually enjoying the rewards.

Thloriso Morienyane held fort as an acting president for those two years until the suspended trio was reinstated towards the end of last year to their different portfolios.

One could have thought that after all this drama that marred the association, CFL would struggle but other members of the chess family had bigger and better plans for their sport and wouldn’t let it suffer.

The Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC) on Tuesday announced the nominees for the third edition of the Lesotho Annual Sports Awards (LASA) and the CFL bagged multiple nominations.

I was not surprised by this development because I have been watching the selfless chess federation members working hard to revive the sport and results are there for everyone to see.

The awards are going to be held on the 6th of April 2019 at the ‘Manthabiseng Convention Center and the CFL has 15 nominations in different categories from the Best Newcomer to the Sports Star of the Year Awards.

They have two representatives in the Junior Female Sportsperson of the Year, Junior Male Sportsperson of the Year, three in Sportsman of the Year, one in Sportswomen of the Year, one in New-comer of the Year, Coach of the Year, Umpire of the Year and four in the biggest category which is Sports Star of the Year.

CFL has been one of the busiest associations in this sporting season keeping their players busy by holding a series of competitions and we all know that the more the competitions, the sharper players get.

Chess has been on the rise despite those challenges and their athletes continued to give good performances in international competitions.

The latest triumph was last weekend’s victory of the country’s best two players Theko Khanyapa and Tokelo Klaas who took first and second places in the Albert Moroka Open Chess Championship in Thaba Nchu.

In September and October last year the CFL sent a 10-member team to the Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia. It was in the same tourney where the sensational Klaas was also Lesotho’s best performer and was awarded the candidate master title.

In the process, he became the fourth Mosotho chess player to be awarded the candidate master title joining Joang Molapo, who is the minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Lieketseng Ngatane and Maboloko Leboela.

The Lesotho Basketball Association was on the same path in the past three, four years and it looked promising until a new committee came into power last year.  Since last year, there has not been much progress registered by the Francis Koma led committee which seems to have concentrated more on internal fights that have so far seen five members resigning.

I think these small associations should learn a thing or two from CFL. We all know that there is a challenge when it comes to finances in our associations but that should not be an excuse for people to laze around instead of developing the sports they claim to love. Big up to the CFL.

They might still be low in international rankings unlike other sporting codes but at least they look like they are on the right track.


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