TEAM Lesotho’s Chef de mission for the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 games, Molupe Mothepu, has implored the athletes to give their best as the country aims to break the record of 13 medals from the 2016 edition of the games.
The Lesotho team, made up of 51 female and 39 male athletes left the country on Tuesday evening ahead of the games that are scheduled to start in Botswana tomorrow.
Lesotho will be hoping to dominate the games and set the tone for its forthcoming hosting of the games in 2020.
Mothepu pleaded with the government to continue investing in sports and also provide the necessary resources to improve the standards of sports in the country.
He said they were also proud to have sent a team of more females than males to the games.
“We pride ourselves for sending 51 female athletes and 39 male athletes,” Mothepu said.
“It’s important that as a region at large but in particular, Lesotho, we promote women empowerment. The role of the girl child is important.
“We are expecting all the athletes to be at their best behaviour to make the country proud and also to bring the medals home.
“I always say, ‘lose like a champion’. If you lose but you have given your best then you are still a champion.”
He admitted that they had to dig deep to prepare the athletes for the games but said he is confident they would perform well in Botswana.
“Lesotho is hosting the ninth edition in 2020 and we have to be ready. This is our time to shine. We have a history of shambolic preparations because of lack of resources and I plead with our principals to ensure that all preparations are done smoothly to ensure that we win gold medals.
“The resources must be availed as soon as possible. Some of the kids in the current team will still be eligible for the 2020 games. We need to invest in these children and ensure that in 2020 when we host the games in front of our home crowd cheering our kids, they will win gold.
“It’s been a rough journey in terms of getting them here but the kids have done a fantastic job. We had to worry about preparing during exam time, had to worry about preparing against all odds but never did we see them despair and I have utmost confidence in them,” he said.
The Lesotho team will be led by Mangabang Tsibela, who stole the limelight in the 2016 edition of the games scooping two gold medals in the 1500 and 3 000 metres.
This year, Lesotho will compete in athletics, boxing, tennis, ladies’ football, volleyball and elite athletes with disabilities.