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Lack of funding stumps Lesotho cricket

Moorosi Tsiane

The Lesotho Cricket Association (LCA) remains committed to establishing cricket as one of the country’s major sporting codes.

This, according to the organisation’s Operations Officer, Mosito Mafanti, was the driving force behind the LCA’s registration with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and African Cricket Association (AFC) in 2002.
Cricket had been played in Lesotho since the early 1990s, but really took root with the ICC and AFC affiliation in 2002, but according to Mafanti, the game had not scaled the heights it was expected to have reached by now due to a number of challenges, top among them lack of funding.

Mafanti told the Sunday Express last week that while making the game a mass-sport like football was proving a challenge, the LCA would not waver from its mission of spreading the sport to communities throughout the country, as well as making it Lesotho’s most popular game.

“At the moment, we have 10 teams in our domestic league and six of them are our affiliates,” Mafanti said.
“We are still expecting the other four teams and many more, to be registered with us as we continue on our mission to make cricket a sport of choice in Lesotho.”
Mafanti noted the LCA had managed to take cricket to schools, and encouraging schoolchildren to be involved in the sport.

“There is a primary and post-primary schools league, in which students play each other at district level. The top two teams then go on to represent their respective districts in an annual tournament, which has proved to be very popular among the learners.”
The domestic league, Mafanti said, was also proving to be a success and expected to grow even bigger in the near future.

“Previously, our league matches would not all be played because some of the teams were facing financial constraints. Some would not have transport, forcing them to cancel their matches but last season, all the matches were played, which is a great improvement to us.
“Our national teams have also done well at international level, where our under-19 side managed to bring a bronze medal from the Easterns Cricket Festival (held in Benoni, South Africa) last year. Our senior national team also won a silver medal at a tournament held in Ghana in 2011. This year, we failed to send any of our teams to international competitions due to funding problems, but based on what has happened in recent months on the global front, we are happy as the LCA that we are realising our dream of taking cricket to a level where it can compete with any other sport for recognition.”

Mafanti said in a bid to take cricket to greater heights, the LCA had lined up a number of courses for administrators, and was also hoping to introduce a females’ league in the near future.
“We would want to see cricket developing in this country, which is why we have lined up these courses, and are hoping to introduce a league for female players.”
According to Mafanti, plans were also afoot to professionalise the game by the year 2016.

“By 2016, we would want every district to have its own competitive community team. But for that to happen, we need to have sound sponsorship and professionalise the sport, hence our current talks with the corporate world in our efforts to source funding.
“With enough corporate support, our dream of turning cricket professional would be made that much easier, as the sport would attract more players who would then earn a living through this exciting code.”

According to Mafanti, with enough sponsorship, the LCA would be able to establish cricket-infrastructure, whose absence remains an obstacle to the association’s efforts to develop the game at the required pace.
“The players who are currently affiliated with us are determined to make this work, but lack of funding is really frustrating us and dampening their spirits.”

Meanwhile, Mafanti said the domestic cricket league is set to resume on 10 August.
“Our league will start on 10 August and we are planning to have cricket activities almost every weekend,” Mafanti said.

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