THE Federation of Handball Lesotho Secretary General, Tsotang Pela, has lamented their teams’ poor preparedness after they lost all their matches at the International Handball Federation (IFH) Zone VI tournament from 10 June 2019 ending yesterday in Lusaka, Zambia.
Lesotho sent two teams for the tournament namely, Youth under-18 and Juniors Under-20.
Lesotho’s Juniors Under-20 side started on the back foot falling 34:11 to South Africa. They were to be humiliated 65:8 by Mozambique in their second match before the Youths Under-18 team were dismissed 45:5 by the same opponents.
Pela admitted that their charges found the going tough but blamed their poor form to lack of physical fitness.
“It is tough here and physical fitness is the problem for our athletes really because they are tired,” Pela said.
Lesotho didn’t prepare well going to this games but Pela said they had to fulfil the fixture to avoid suspension.
“These are international games after which countries get ranked so they are expected to participate otherwise, they face suspension. The IHF sponsored us with money for the athletes transport, accommodation and food during the stay. Our results must only be attributed to poor preparations,” he said.
Asked whether or not they still believe it was a good idea to send an ill-prepared team for the tournament, Pela said they used it to give their said exposure.
“I believe it is a good move because we are giving our athletes exposure and next time they will do better as they will be familiar with how regional competitions work. It is unfortunate that all the players were participating for the first time in a regional game,” Pela said.
He said to give their players ample competition, they hold different competitions and also send them to other competitions in South Africa but said it was now clear that more is needed.
“We always hold the tournaments including the annual Independence Cup which is held in Leribe. We had friendlies with teams from Eastern Cape and we are still preparing for the games which are going to be held in Nazareth on Thursday.
We also have programme with Lesotho Institutions Sports Association (LISA) in their ball games. At least, that’s what we do to equip our teams. But if the government is not supporting us financially, it is also a problem because there is no sponsorship,” he said.
Other countries that participated in the tournament are Madagascar, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and the hosts Zambia.