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Sports administrators must step up

Moorosi Tsiane

THE African Women Netball championship qualifiers’ set for Lusaka, Zambia are less than a month away but our national team is yet to commence its preparations.

The tournament will run from 14 to 19 August 2018 and will also be used as qualifiers for the World Cup which will be next year in London.

I cannot say I am shocked by these developments since that is how most of our national associations have operated lately.

One would have thought that the Lesotho Netball Association (LNA) has learnt its lessons following the embarrassing performance displayed by the national under-21 team in Botswana in 2016. The team performed dismally in the World Cup qualifiers that were hosted by Botswana in 2016.

Lesotho were locked horns with eight other African countries where top three teams qualified for the World Cup that was hosted by Botswana in 2017.

Just as in this case, the team which went to Botswana was assembled three weeks before they departed for the qualifiers. It was not a surprise that of all the participating countries, only Lesotho failed to surpass 15 points and lost up to 70 points.

Of course, there is a new committee which came to power in March this year taking over from the Moipone Mashale led committee but that cannot be an excuse. After all, the new committee was abreast with all the issues bedeviling the association before they took over.

I recently attempted to reach out to the leaders of the sport and the laborious process yielded nothing. I had intended to find out how far they have gone with the preparations for the league and the tournament but I was thrown from one official to the other.

First, I called spokesperson, Boiketlo Hanyane, who said she was out of the country and could not comment on the matter. I tried the president, Shila Moluoane, who oddly said she could not comment and referred me back to the spokesperson.

Attempts to explain that the spokesperson said she could not comment were still fruitless. She then referred me to the secretary general Anna Shale who also could not comment on LNA affairs without development director’s approval.

In as much as the last committee had its own flaws, at least it was accessible. They were always responsive. However, I fail to understand how a president of an association feels she is not empowered to respond to questions to the media.

Sports journalists have been attacked numerous times for shunning minority sports and this is one of the reasons for which reporters give up on some sporting codes.

I also have not been spared such attacks although I have never had a problem with minority sports and have always tried to strike a balance.

Unlike in other developed countries, we cannot afford to have reporters who focus on one specific sport. It gets worse for minority sports considering that soccer being the most popular sport in most countries, its administrators and teams are generally accessible. It stands to reason that when a process is torturous people often desert it.

LNA leadership has to step up if they want the sport to grow or make way for those that are interested in growth.

All national federations have to ensure that they play their part and they have to bear in mind that no one owes them anything and while it is partly my role to make their sport popular, the biggest task lies with them.

They cannot compare the publicity they get to that which soccer team get because they are failing to play their part.

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