MASERU — All four of Lesotho’s players who participated in the African Zonal Junior Tennis Championships held in Zimbabwe a fortnight ago have qualified for the African Junior Tennis Championships to be held in Abuja, Nigeria, in April.
The team was made-up of two boys Lebelo Mosehle and Paseka Motsamai, and two girls, Mpho Kotsie and Ntsoaki Mokhele, with national coach, Sekhobe Moshoeshoe telling the Sunday Express he was extremely pleased with the squad’s performance.
Mosehle was the best-performer of the group, after reaching the semi-final stage of the under-14 boys tournament. Moshoeshoe was however encouraged with the overall performance of the whole team which he said allowed Lesotho to gain two extra places — for the under-18 age group — at the African Junior Championships.
“To play the way they did against such good opposition — especially when they do not play very often — is very pleasing,” Moshoeshoe said on Thursday.
Moshoeshoe said the players were helped by the conditions, which he said were similar to those in Lesotho.
“When we left, we had tried to give them all the necessary tools. But you could see when they made mistakes, it was because they were not used to the situation. A lot of times, we have been unable to take part in international tournaments because of financial reasons and as a result, players are not used to playing in such competitions,” Moshoeshoe said.
Moshoeshoe stressed preperations for the African Junior Tennis Championships have to start ‘immediately’ to build on the progress. Last year, Lesotho only had two players who qualified for the continental championships which were held in Morocco.
“I want hard workers, players who put 100 percent effort and that starts right here at the practice courts. The most important thing is discipline. Last year, there were eight players who went to the qualifiers in Pretoria and only two qualified for the continental tournament. This year we have four players; it shows we are moving in the right direction,” Moshoeshoe said.
To Lesotho Lawn Tennis Association president Motlatsi Morolong, the performances are a sign of the steady progress that has been made since the current board was elected last July.
Last April, the previous LTTA executive was disbanded after an independent commission uncovered crippling mismanagement.
“Fortunately, because of the coaching and preparations (our players’), the players’ performance was very pleasing which enabled two more to qualify. It’s one of those results of working well together as a committee,” Morolong said.
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