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African Dream Team disbanded

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Leemisa Thuseho

THE African Dream Team mountain biking club has been indefinitely disbanded after going for several months without allowances for riders, the Lesotho Times can reveal.

The team had eight riders and four of them had been getting undisclosed monthly payouts from the team’s sponsors. However, the funding has dried out.

Team manager Mark West this week said they could no longer afford paying the riders’ monthly allowances due to the lack of sponsors. Therefore, they decided to disband the team and allow the riders to participate in different races of their choice until the African Dream Team secures full sponsorship.

“Since 2020, none of the riders has received an allowance,” West said.

“We are receiving little sponsorship which we are reserving for competitions when they resume.”

The team’s title sponsor was the The Sufferfest, a training application developed by American David McQuillen. The Sufferfest has been sponsoring the team since 2013 but the partnership ended in 2019.

West said the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the situation.

“Covid-19 has delayed the plans of finding alternative sponsorship and without sponsorship, we can’t do anything. It is difficult to say what the plan is going forward. However, I think the riders understand the situation as Covid-19 has just worsened the situation.”

For the last few years, the team seemed poised to be best placed to dictate the future of Lesotho’s cycling as most of the top riders have passed through its ranks. Among some of its products is the current national championship champion, Tumelo Makae, who is now in Switzerland preparing for the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics. Veteran rider Phetetso Monese is also a member of the team.

For his part, Monese said the disbanding of the team was a huge blow to the riders.

“This has badly affected us because it similar to losing a job,” Monese said.

The team also had riders from Botswana and West said he was planning to add more from Kenya and Morocco along with young locals.

Among its successes, the team was the first in Africa to be licenced by the International Cycling Union since 2014.

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