THE African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games will be officially launched tomorrow but confusion is still reigning supreme among the hosts’ teams.
The country’s shambolic preparations for the games have continued and as of yesterday, several team managers reported that their athletes were yet to report for full camp. To make matters worse, the managers are not even aware when their camp will start.
So far, only football team have started their full camp as matches started on yesterday. The rest of the athletes have been commuting daily to and from training.
There seems to be something terribly wrong in the planning.
For years, Lesotho has consistently dismally prepared for any international competition and the results are evidence of the preceding chaos. Whatever competition it is, be it the Olympics, the AUSC Region Games, the Commonwealth Games, or the Africa Games and so on, we have mastered the art of confusion.
The cause for the poor preparations has always been that the government releases fund late and athletes are forced to compete without preparations.
The preparations for this year’s edition of the games were worsened by the bickering among the authorities as well as the change in government which eventually resulted in a new Gender, Youth, Sport and Recreation minister being appointed.
The government knew in 2016 that it would be hosting the games in 2020. We had four years to prepare but we waited until 2019 to prepare. The Sport minister at the time was Mahali Phamotse (Alliance of Democrats), who was replaced by Likeleli Tampane of the Democratic Congress last year. This after the formation of a new government between the All Basotho Convention (ABC) and the DC but excluding the AD,
The games local organising committee (LOC) had previously proposed that it gets its own office and bank account for efficient running of the project but the proposal was turned down. Eventually, it was decided that the affairs been run through the government system.
This is the same system which has been disappointing athletes for several years when it comes to processing funds for events.
The money that was supposed to fund the preparations was only released late in October this year, just six weeks before the games, how pathetic!
Now the games are about to start and up to yesterday, some teams had not camped but the athletes are still expected to work miracles.
Tampane said she was confident that the games would go ahead but at the end of the day hosting the games cannot be the measure of success at this juncture.
This was Lesotho’s chance to capitalise and get infrastructure upgraded and athletes exposed but it remains a pipe dream.
We have blown this chance and our sports will remain poor.