THE Lesotho Netball Association (LNA) has withdrawn the men’s senior national team from the forthcoming Males’ International Netball Championship.
The championship will be held in Pretoria from 15 to 18 September 2021.
The association attributed the decision to the current suspension of sporting events in Lesotho to manage the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The association said it would have been difficult to prepare the team under the prevailing conditions.
The withdrawal came just two weeks after the association had enrolled the team for the event.
“The stringent Covid-19 restrictions have forced us to abandon our national league games and our national teams have also suffered therefore it only makes sense to cancel,” the LNA said in a statement.
“Our men’s national team had not yet been selected by the time the league was called off so we do not have a legitimate team.
“The team was expected in South Africa on 11 September so that it would be quarantined in line with Covid-19 regulations and that meant we would not have adequate training time.”
Therefore, the LNA executive decided to cancel the trip, the statement said.
Lesotho’s participation in the games has been in the balance for a long time because the association has been struggling for funds.
However, the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) later came to the association’s rescue and pledged to pay for the team’s accommodation and meals.
LNA secretary general, Abiel Lekulo, this weekend said they have been in talks with National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) negotiating for permission to train. However, the request had not been replied to until the LNA decided to withdraw the team.
“We haven’t received a response from NACOSEC and considering the remaining time, it is too late to start preparing the team even if the request was to be granted,” Lekulo said.
This would have been Lesotho’s debut appearance in the Males International Netball Championship.
The competition would have also marked the team’s return to action since 2019 when it competed in the South Africa Males Championship.