Lesotho upbeat over tri-nations rugby tourney
The Federation of Lesotho Rugby (FLR) is confident of hosting a successful rugby tournament featuring Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho national teams next year.
The first edition of the competition, dubbed the BOLESWA Tri-Nations Cup, is set for February/March 2015 in Maseru.
According to the FLR secretary-general, Litšitso Motšeremeli, the tournament will be an annual event hosted on a rotational basis by the three nations.
“The announcement, as you might be aware, was made last month in Botswana where the three countries — Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland — were joined by Mauritius, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and a team from South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province, in a very exciting rugby tournament.
“We then met as delegates from these three countries and agreed to have an annual tournament, and Lesotho was given the honour to host the first edition of the competition,” Motšeremeli said.
He noted the tournament seeks to improve the standard of rugby in southern Africa, particularly in non-rugby nations such as Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana.
“We have a real Tri-Nations rugby tournament which is traditionally played by the top dogs in the sport, namely Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
“But ours is meant to improve the game and interest among the people in our respective countries, and we are confident, as the Federation of Lesotho Rugby, of staging a highly successful BOLESWA Tri-Nations Cup tournament,” Motšeremeli said.
According to Motšeremeli, the tournament would also present Lesotho with a great opportunity to show its readiness to play international rugby at a higher level.
“As the FLR, we will also benefit a lot through this tournament as competition will increase among our players, who will be fighting for a spot in the national team, as they would all be hoping to be part of the BOLESWA Tri-Nations tournament.
“Such competition for places can only help our league become more competitive, thereby creating a large pool of players from which the national team selectors can then pick a highly competitive side.”
Meanwhile, Motšeremeli told the Sunday Express that lack of rugby pitches remains a challenge for his association.
“Our biggest challenge, at the moment, is that we don’t have enough rugby pitches in Lesotho. However, the government has promised to help in this regard, so we will soon be meeting to discuss the issue and then see how best to tackle the matter.
“We are hoping by the time we host the tournament next year, we would have enough rugby fields not only for hosting the tri-nations competition, but also training for our various teams and at different venues across the country,” Motšeremeli said.