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Taekwondo coaches stranded

Pascalinah Kabi

MASERU — Taekwondo coaches failed to travel back to their respective homes on Thursday after attending a workshop in the capital because the Lesotho Taekwondo Association (LTA) failed to raise bus fare for them, the Sunday Express has established.
The LTA’s 30 coaches had attended a 10-day training course at Sefika High School in Maseru which ended on Wednesday.
Sources say on Thursday when the coaches were supposed to return to their respective homes, it was then discovered that the LTA did not have money to pay for their bus fares.
The course was fully financed by Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC).
The coaches were from Thaba-Tseka, Mokhotlong, Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek, Quthing, Berea, Leribe, Maseru and Butha-Buthe districts.
The LTA public relations officer Likhama Leuta confirmed that the coaches had failed to return to their homes because of the lack of money.
“The course ended on Wednesday and the coaches were expected to leave to their respective homes yesterday (Thursday),” Leuta said.
“They however did not leave yesterday as scheduled because their bus fare monies were still being raised,” he said.
Mojapela ’Mefane, LTA vice president has however denied that the coaches failed to leave Maseru on the scheduled date because the association failed to pay their bus fares.
’Mefane also denied that the coaches failed to leave on Thursday, insisting that they had left on the same day without any financial problems.
He said the LNOC treasurer, Sam Mphaka, gave him money which he handed to the coaches immediately.
“It is not true that our people failed to leave yesterday because we had a crisis,” ’Mefane said.
“I actually went to ntate Mphaka’s office yesterday, he gave me the money and our people left the same day,” he said.
However, a source close to the matter told this paper the coaches failed to leave on Thursday because Mphaka only signed the cheques on Thursday evening, after the banks had closed at 1530 hours.
“Taekwondo coaches are still stuck in Maseru as we speak because the cheque for their transport allowances was only signed late yesterday (Thursday),” the source said.
“The cheque was taken to ntate Mphaka’s office yesterday (Thursday),” the source said.
Apparently Mphaka did not sign the cheque immediately when it reached his office as he was busy in a meeting, the source said.
Another source told this paper that the coaches were stranded next to the ministry of gender, youth, sports and recreation on Thursday.
“They were gathered next to the ministry of sports on Thursday complaining about allowances and the fact that they had not eaten since morning,” another source said.
’Mefane was however still adamant his coaches left for their respective places on Thursday. He nevertheless was not happy with the leaking of information about his organisation’s affairs.
“I don’t understand how this was leaked out of my office because office issues must remain in the office,” he said.
“The coaches managed to leave to their respective homes as planned,” ’Mefane said.
“I am not going to help destroy the name of my office by agreeing to something that did not happen,” he said.

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