THE Deputy Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation Rethabile Mahlompho Mokaeane on Friday called on the Lesotho delegation which is set to leave for the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games to do the country proud in Botswana.
Mokaeane said this during a send-off ceremony held at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena recently.
Lesotho will be represented in athletics, boxing, ladies’ football, volleyball, tennis and elite athletics with disability.
The deputy minister said it is important for Lesotho to give a powerful display at the regional games as they are set to host the next edition scheduled for 2020.
“I’m very proud that this team is going to represent the country in Botswana because the next edition of the Region 5 Games is coming to Lesotho,” Mokaeane said.
“Let’s go and hoist the country’s flag high. Come back with medals and prove to our counterparts that we are ready to host the games in 2020.
“It would be a shame if we comeback empty handed because it will leave question marks about our readiness to host the games.
“I appeal to the sports administrators to help the talent that we have in this country. I think proof is there that people can make a living through sports.”
Mokaeane said there is a lot that the country can benefit through sports if there is unity.
“Sports can help us in the fight against poverty. In short, I think if we put more work towards the development of sports it can help us a great deal.
“I therefore appeal to everyone to work together peacefully and help nurture the talent that we have in the country. If there is no unity at management level then it discourages the athletes and for that we need to work together.
“The Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC) and the Lesotho National Olympic Games (LNOC) should work together as we will be hosting games in 2020 and 2022.
“It is also important in those two events to be staged here at home we have a big representation because it will increase our chances of winning more medal. I wish the athletes and their coaches a successful journey,” she said.
LSRC president Khiba Mohoanyane echoed the same sentiments saying that he is confident that team Lesotho will come home with more medals than they did in the 2016 edition of the games in Angola.
Lesotho athletes bagged 13 medals at the 2016 edition of the biennial games including six gold, three silver and four bronze medals in athletics and boxing.
“In 2016, at the games that were held in Luanda Angola, team Lesotho, did very well because they came with the most medal in the history of Lesotho since their first participation at the games.
“This tells me that there are things that we might have done well, I’m not sure whether it was the ministry, LSRC or athletes themselves but obviously there was something done right.
“We have to go there and maintain unity among the team and support each other throughout the games,” Mohoanyane said.
The LSRC president also lamented that their team endured poor preparations as received funds late from the ministry but said it should not be an excuse for the athletes to perform poorly in Botswana.
“The team which went to Angola had worse preparations but they brought the most medals in the history of our participation at the games.
“They were the best team despite that and I’m confident that this team can double or triple that if they listen carefully to the instructions.
“My message to that team prior to the Angola trip was that they are not going there to just represent themselves but the country. The victory that they achieved there is not for them only but the whole country.
“So, that is the determination that the current crop of athletes should take going into Botswana in that they carry the hopes of millions of Basotho.
“Let us no go to Botswana to disappoint but make our country proud. Let’s go there to enjoy the games and bring glory home,” Mohoanyane said..