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Cricket team soldiers on

by Lesotho Times
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Mikia Kalati

THE Lesotho Cricket Association says its members had to dig into their personal coffers to send the senior men’s team to the ongoing ICC World Twenty20 Africa Region qualifiers in Botswana.

The tournament started on Sunday but Lesotho only started their campaign on Monday beating eSwatini by eight wickets with 43 balls remaining.

Lesotho batsman, Sarfaraj Patel, also walked away with the man of the match accolade in the victory over eSwatini.

However, the LCA president, Sebajoa Sebajoa, said that they have been struggling to get funding from the government through the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission LSRC so they had no funds to take the team to Gaborone.

The two countries that will finish at the top of the six-country tournament will advance to the next phase to be staged next year.

“Unfortunately, we are not getting financial support from anywhere and had to into our own pockets as the cricket community for the team to travel to Botswana,” Sebajoa said.

“The only support we had is the technical sponsorship we got from Maseru businessman, Ashraf Patel.

“But the transportation of the team, accommodation and meals were all paid for by the association.”

The cricket boss said they recently attended an ICC conference where they have been training about sourcing for sponsors to ensure sustenance of the sport.

Sebajoa said the sport has registered significant growth as their under-19 team in August participated at the ICC Division 2 qualifiers.

Their women’s senior team also participated at the Six Nations tournament that was also held in Botswana two months ago.

“We had not focussed on development as it was the team’s first tournament outside the country early this year when they played in South Africa.

“The CC has told us to balance things at the senior and youth level to ensure progress. In the same way, in the women’s category, it’s only in 2016 that our women’s team played international competitions but unfortunately due to lack of financial support from the government in the previous year, they did not play.

“They returned to international competitions and we already know that again in April next year, they will be playing at the same competition. It helps us in our playing to understand our programmes better,” he said.

Lesotho are scheduled to play Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Swaziland, St Helena and Mozambique during the Twenty20 tournament in Gaborone.

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