MASERU — Lesotho Institute of Sports Association (Lisa) has called on Sports Minister Thesele ‘Maseribane to push for a special budget for sports developmental structures in the country.
Lisa public relations officer, Letsatsi Ntsibolane, said this after Team Lesotho to the Confederation of School Sport Associations in Southern Africa (Cossasa) was exposed to harsh conditions last weekend.
Team Lesotho, made up of the Under-17 football and volleyball as well as Under-13 netball and football teams, left the country for Namibia last week without any budget for the games.
Lesotho came last after collecting only one gold medal from the games.
“The team was exposed to harsh and painful situations after we left the country for Namibia without any money for things like water and fruits,” Ntsibolane told the Sunday Express on Friday.
“The Under-13 team didn’t have anything to wear during the opening ceremony while the Under-17 used the attire which we bought when we hosted the same games in 2007,” he said.
He said they failed to buy water for the players during matches because of lack of funds.
“Namibia gave all visiting teams free accommodation, transport during the games as well as food but that didn’t mean we neglect our players to an extent of not having money to buy them necessities like water and apples,” he said.
Ntsibolane said they were faced with extra-work of counselling the players when they were seeing their competitors with new attire, bottled water and fruits in between games.
“There was one time where lunch was only served after 3pm and we didn’t even have a budget to buy fruits for these players who had used their energy during matches,” Ntsibolane said.
“It was so embarrassing to have to talk to our children into never minding their regional counterparts when they were having things like apples and water while waiting for Namibia to serve us lunch,” he said.
As if this was not enough, one Under-17 volleyball player’s own training shoe got torn in the middle of the game and we did not have anything to offer him, he said.
“He was a setter when the sole and the upper-part were separated and he was left embarrassed and we didn’t have money to buy him the cheapest training shoe.
“The only thing we could say was sorry and gave him a pat on the shoulder,” he said.
Fortunately it was the last match of the competition, he said.
Ntsibolane said Lesotho will continue to perform dismally in any international matches because of its neglect of developmental structures.
“There is a huge challenge in our country because Lesotho is neglecting its development structures and we will end up resorting to age cheating if something is not done to help these children to enjoy their talent at an early stage,” he said.
He said former Lesotho Swimming Association president, Thesele ‘Maseribane, who is now the sports minister, must look into pushing for a special budget for development structures before it is too late.
“He has got a sports background and totally understands what we mean by taking care of development structures in the country and unless he pushes for a special budget, Lesotho will continue to perform dismally in international sporting events,” Ntsibolane said.
He said ‘Maseribane is the right person to push for a special budget because of his experiences in running sports on a shoe-string budget.
“He perfectly understands what we are talking about and he must start making arrangements before it’s too late and people start blaming him for Likuena or netball’s poor performances,” he said.
Lisa and Lesotho Primary Schools Association are Lesotho’s main development structures and feeders to national teams.