TODAY, the curtain comes down on the biennial Africa Union Sports Council (AUSC) Games.
For two weeks, Lesotho’s 36 athletes drawn from various sporting disciplines pitted their skills against their regional counterparts in the Angolan capital, Luanda and won 13 medals.
Six of these were gold, three silver and four bronze.
This represents an improvement from the 12 won at the last games held in 2014 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. And the improvement has also been qualitative as this time, the number of gold doubled.
While it may appear a slight improvement, the athletes deserve a pat on the shoulder none-the-less, their achievements coming as they did against the background of shoddy preparations.
It is incumbent upon our sport administrators to expand the country’s representation to more sporting codes to enhance our chances of improving our medals haul.
We were only represented by the 36 athletes in just the four disciplines of tennis, athletics, Elite Athletes with Disability (EAD) and boxing while other countries brought as many as 150 athletes who participated in more disciplines.
Another issue needing special attention is the glaring lack of sprinters in the country.
While it would appear the country is on the right tack as far as producing long distance runners is concerned, the same cannot be said of the shorter distances like the 100 and 200 metres.
The Lesotho Athletics Amateur Association (LAAA) still has lot of work in that category and I am afraid that we might wait a decade or longer to finally replace the aging Mosito Lehata.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will surely be his last and while countries like Botswana and South Africa are dominating the short races, we seem at sea as in terms of grooming potential replacements for Lehata.
That said, the games played their part in giving our athletes the much-needed exposure especially as they witnessed the emergence of double gold medallist Manqabang Tsibela who won the girls 1500 and 10 000 metre competitions.
And she is only 12 years old!
Tsibela has certainly been in scintillating form as evidenced by her victory in May at the Confederation of School Sport Associations of Southern Africa (COSSASA) Games that were held in Namibia.
However, it was not all good especially in netball and tennis.
While it is a fact that the netball squad was dominated by players who were debuting on the international stage, their level of commitment however, left a lot to be desired especially in their matches against Namibia and Botswana.
These were far from vintage performances where they appeared to lack seriousness, committing basic errors which cost them the matches.
Perhaps it shall be well as their coach emphasised the need to give them time to get used to playing together.
It was the same story for our tennis players and it is high time the Lesotho Lawn Tennis Association organised more tournaments to give them match fitness.
Having said at this, it remains for me to heartily congratulate all those who won medals and to those who lost out, it is my sincere hope that come 2018 in Botswana, only the sky will be the limit.