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Lesotho’s participation in All Africa Games hangs in balance

Pascalinah Kabi

MASERU — Lesotho’s participation at the All Africa Games in Mozambique next month is now hanging in the balance, the Sunday Express has learnt.
Sources said Lesotho might fail to send athletes to the continental sporting showpiece because the sports ministry has not budgeted for the competition.
They said the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC) had ordered sports associations to put their plans on hold because there were no funds.
The commission is said to have told associations expected to send athletes for the games scheduled to run from September 10 – 19 in Maputo to suspend their preparations.
“The LSRC is expecting the ministry of sports to make a special request to the finance ministry for funding,” said the source who works for the LSRC but refused to be named because he is not allowed to talk to the press.
“This was revealed in a meeting held at LSRC offices last month where all the sports associations’ representatives were told to keep quiet about this issue. We are in a mess”.
“We don’t know how many participants we will be sending per sport code.”
Chaka Mokhele, the Lesotho Lawn Tennis Association’s spokesperson, said he was not sure if Lesotho will sent tennis players to Mozambique.
“Right now we are stuck because the LSRC has not given us the money to start preparing for the All Africa Games,” Mokhele said in an interview.
“We were told that the ministry of sports did not budget for the All Africa Games and are currently waiting for the finance ministry to approve its special request for these games,” he said.
“We’ve called off our training programmes until further notice.
“If we were continuing with our trainings as scheduled we would have had more tournaments as part of our preparations,” Mokhele said.
Lesotho Taekwondo Association public relations officer, Likhama Leuta, told a press conference on Wednesday that they were still unsure of their participation at the games.
“We are not going to have a training camp because of lack of funding. The team is also not yet finalised because we’ve not been given a go ahead,” Leuta said.
“We are not even sure whether we are going or not.”
However LSRC chief executive officer, Kholoang Mokalanyane, is adamant that Lesotho will send a team to Mozambique.
“We are certainly going to take part in next month’s games. It’s just that we are finishing some things on our side,” Mokalanyane said on Friday.
“We are trying to sort out the issue of finances and we are sure we will have the funds prior to the games.”
Mokalanyane denied that the All Africa Games were not budgeted for.
“I don’t know where these claims are emanating from. I know the games were budgeted for,” he added.

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