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LAAA must swallow its pride

Moorosi Tsiane

Athletics coach Reynold Salas has cleared the air as to why he stopped training top athlete Lerato Sechele just before her trip to the Gold Coast Australia Commonwealth Games in April this year.

As reported elsewhere in this edition of the newspaper, the Cuban native who has been in the country for the past 10 years was brought by the ministry of Sports and has worked on different development and talent identification programmes. He has worked with both the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) and the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) until his contract ended in 2016.

Salas had been helping the triple jump star out of his goodwill until February this year when he deserted her just a month before she departed for the Commonwealth Games.

Instead of getting involved and try to help Sechele, the LAAA however, resorted to the blame game and accused the LNOC of failing to renew Salas’ contract.

I was baffled by this accusation because from what I heard the coach was unhappy with how the LAAA treated him.

This week he finally explained how belittled he felt by the athletics association dropped Sechele and sprinter Mojela Koneshe both of whom he was assisting for free.

I understand where Salas’s frustration comes from because it does not make sense for him to nurture athletes only for the LAAA only for others to get the glory.

There is a cancer that has wreaked havoc in our sports where coaches are denied the chance to travel for international competitions with their athletes. I remember at one time a press attaché confiding in me after one foreign trip that all the athletes would expected him to do all the coaching duties because they had travelled without the coach.

The coaches were left behind while the LAA appointed their own people who travelled with the team under the guise that they were coaches.

This goes on to show how selfish people can be when they are only aiming to dip their hands into the public purse.

For most sports administrators in the country it has always been about how they are going to benefit from running the sport and they do not care about sports development. No wonder it never worries them that our athletes in most cases return empty handed from the tournaments they participate in.

Salas’ work is there for everyone to see it but unfortunately for the LAAA, it has never been about the development of athletics in the country. Instead, greed seems to be the biggest motivation.

Some of the positions in the administration of local sports are given to people who are connected to the powerful.

It is my view that the LAAA must swallow its pride and work with Salas because we have seen the results he has produced. We have had enough of people who abuse power just because they can and do not care about the reason for which they occupy their offices.

The LAAA is there to serve the athletes and to succeed they need athletes who are able to compete on grand stages, something that Salas was helping them achieve before they shunned him.

If LAAA claims to have their own coaches where are they now? Why are we not seeing their results? Even if it was true, they still need Salas’ expertise so they better solve their mess for the sake of the country’s talent.

The association is nobody’s private property and has to be treated with respect.

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