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Rugby team strikes after clash with coach

Moorosi Tsiane

LESOTHO Rugby Sevens recently embarked onto a four-day industrial action almost derailing the team’s preparations form the Lusaka Sevens tournament set to start tomorrow.

The players boycotted training for four consecutive demanding transports allowances and only resumed training on Friday.

The Lusaka Sevens tournament will run from the 27 August until 2 September in Lusaka, Zambia and the local team is expected to leave the country on Wednesday.

According to a source close to the matter, the 15-member team had a disagreement with the coach Litšitso Motšeremeli over the transport allowances to the training sessions on Saturday.

The source said the players requested that their coach, who is also the Federation of Lesotho Rugby (FLR) chief executive officer to assist them with transport money to their two training sessions every week while they would cater for the remaining one day.

Instead, Motšeremeli reportedly instead ignored their grievances and threatened to dissolve the team and select the new players and the players immediately resorted to boycotting training.

“Some of the players in the team are unemployed so they requested that they be provided with part of their transport costs since they are aware that the FLR received some funds from the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) but Motšeremeli ignored them and that is when they decided not to train,” said the source.

Motšeremeli confirmed the fall out with his players and said he was disappointed over the ill-discipline in the team.

“I understand they had their grievances but I think it could have been better if they at least tried to communicate with me before they decide to boycott training.

“Their captains had their own meeting with the team manager discussing transport and supplements issues and it was only brought to my attention on Saturday when we attended rugby games at Makoanyane and I did not have money on me because I was not even there on national duty. I told them they should go to the training on Tuesday so that they would get the money but none of them showed,” Motšeremeli said.

Motšeremeli said he immediately wanted to dismantle the team as he felt “could not work with traitors who have betrayed the country”. He however, said he was advised by some of the FLR executive members against dismantling the team.

He confirmed that the FLR received money from the Olympic Solidarity through LNOC but said it was meant for other purposes.

“The money is not for transportation of the national team but we met with the LNOC along with captains a few weeks back where I asked the players to table their needs. We agreed that they would get transport for two out of the three training days and they indeed got the money in the first week,” he said.

“We met on Thursday and we agreed they will get their money and the supplements,” Motšeremeli said.

Motšeremeli said he hopes the rebellious actions do not affect his team’s performance in Zambia.

“Chances are that they may be affected mentally but we will cross the bridge when we get there. Now we have to cover for lost time.

“I still have to trim the team to 12 members again so there are lots of considerations to be made on the final selection. I still have a backup plan,” Motšeremeli said.



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