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Athletes must get out of their comfort zones

by Lesotho Times

Moorosi Tsiane

FOR a long time, local footballers seemed to have been comfortable playing in the domestic league and not aspiring to move abroad.

Only a few have left to try their luck outside the country, either in South Africa or elsewhere.

The likes of Thapelo Tale, Bokang Mothoana, Moitheri Ntobo and Dlomo Monaphathi among a few others have played in far flung countries like Spain and Tunisia.

Lately, it has been Thabiso Brown, Khosi Mafisa and Nkoto Masoabi who are in Bolivia, Peru and Libya respectively.

We still have players in the United States of America who went under Kick4Life facilitated football scholarships but my focus today is more on players who just decide to up and go in search for greener pastures.

It has been a rare occurrence and my interview with Likuena and Bloemfontein Celtic marksman Motebang Sera intrigued me.

Sera said local players were afraid of making big decisions and go for trials in other countries as they seem to be enjoying being in their comfort zones.

Most local players, once they play for the country’s big guns like Lioli, Matlama and Bantu; suddenly get comfortable and don’t push any further. They would have reached the apex of their respective careers and do not have any desire to go beyond.

It suddenly dawned upon me that this behaviour doesn’t only apply in football but most of our athletes like it when they are here at home with their families.

A simple example can be of our long-distance runners who, for a long time, were dominating South African races until recently when Kenyans and Ethiopians started taking over. All those years our athletes were winning races in South Africa but always failed to rise to the occasion on bigger stages.

The question is: when they were winning, making money why didn’t they at least invest in their careers? Or even relocate to some of the countries where it was going to be easy for them to compete in bigger and better rewarding races?

They failed to even think about moving to Kenya or Ethiopia just for training camps and learn how and why athletes from those nations were knocking them off their perches.

But then I realised that this was not only about sport but Basotho in general. We are firmly strapped to our socio and cultural lives that we rarely if at all entertain thoughts of moving elsewhere.

We are so family oriented that each time one wants to leave, it is never easy.

I think we must work hard and change that mentality as it doesn’t help. Yes, it is good to care about our families and our roots but at the same time, we must go out there and chase our dreams and widen our horizons. Who knows, that move may even open opportunities for the families that we so dearly love.

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