Coach Bobby Mapheko says his charges are in a better position to win more medals during the 2015 Confederation of Schools Sports Association of Southern African (Cossasa) Games which get underway at Lesotho High School and Setsoto Stadium.
Lesotho won eight medals—three gold, three silver and two bronze—in last year’s edition of the tournament held in Botswana, and Mapheko is targeting at least 20 accolades now that the event is being held at home.
Namibia and Zimbabwe are being represented in the event, scheduled to end on Saturday. Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia pulled out of the tournament for various reasons.
“I think we stand a good chance of collecting more medals this year because we are the hosts, and started our camp on Monday. Technically, that is not enough time to prepare but compared to our past preparations, this is far much better,” Mapheko said on Tuesday.
“Last year, I only met the team when we were leaving for Botswana. Our 200-metre representative, for instance, just got off the bus and took part in the race without even warming-up because we had arrived late in Botswana. However, the boy still went on to win a gold medal in that race.
“If we could win eight medals under such conditions, imagine what is going to happen now that we are at home and have had time to be together for some time as a team. I hope we are going to give this nation something to smile about when these track-and-field events are over on Saturday.”
Mapheko also said he was looking at building future champions through these games.
“There is continuity in this team because one of my aims is to build for the future. I have about 22 athletes in this team, who participated in last year’s competition, and this shows that we have potential in this country and if we groom these youngsters accordingly, they will be champions this country is going to be proud of in future.”
However, Mapheko lamented lack of resources which he said was preventing local athletes from realising their full potential.
“Some of these kids train barefoot but would be wearing spikes during the tournament. This change will affect their performance because they would not be used to the footwear. This lack of resources is a real problem, hence our athletes will not realise their full potential,” he said.
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Meanwhile, the tournament’s organizing committee public relations officer, Teboho Pholo, said four nations had pulled out of the event for various reasons.
“A total of seven countries were supposed to be part of this event, but Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia have pulled out of the competition for various reasons,” Pholo said.