Tennis starlet, Nyathi Motlojoa, on Friday reached the semi-finals of the South Africa Junior Championship to book himself a place in the African Junior Championship set for March this year in Morocco.
According to coach Mojalefa Mothibeli, the youngster was the country’s standout player among the eleven at the Pretoria tournament, which ended yesterday.
“We came here with a team of eleven players. Unfortunately, only one managed to qualify for the continental competition set for March,” Mothibeli said.
“There is no doubt that there is huge potential in these youngsters, but the main problem has been the big stage for them.
“Our players do not play international competitions regularly and this is the main reason we did not perform that well.
“Most of them panicked and were keen to make it to the knockout stage yet they should have focused on the early rounds of the competition. This is something that happens when players lack the necessary experience or international exposure.”
Lesotho Lawn Tennis Association president, Kamohelo Hlomisi, echoed similar sentiments but said there was nothing the organization could do due to lack of funds to finance international competitions.
“We always want to send our players to South African competitions especially those which take place in the Free State province. However, the problem is funding because our budget is not enough,” said Hlomisi.
“Our hope is that this time around, our budget will not be cut so that we can have more kids in those competitions.
“We will strive to make a difference and hopefully, things will go according to plan so that our players participate outside the country and get the much-needed exposure.”
The tennis boss said most of the time, local players find themselves playing against each other, which he noted was not good for their development.
“These players find themselves playing against each other most of the time and I think it is no longer helping them stay competitive,” said Hlomisi.
“They deserve to play against opponents from different countries in order to improve their game and hopefully, our budget to give them international competition will not be cut like in the previous years.”