Greetings from Botswana

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Mikia Kalati

LESOTHO has had a poor start to the ongoing African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games being held in Botswana.

Since the games started last week, team Lesotho had participated in tennis, netball, soccer and volleyball while boxing and athletics got underway this week.

The Netball team had lost all their opening five games and only registered their first win on Monday when they beat Botswana and also beat Namibia on Tuesday while it was also a poor start by the ladies’ soccer team as well as the volleyball team.

The ladies’ soccer side lost 3-nill to Zimbabwe in their opening match before being hammered 6-1 by Malawi in the second game.

It was a bit promising for tennis where in the ladies’ doubles, team Lesotho made it to the semi-finals but eventually lost to Zimbabwe while Nyathi Motlojoa delivered the country’s first medal after beating an opponent from Mozambique to win bronze.

I must say, just like the 18-year old admitted in an interview with this publication, he could have done better especially in the semi-finals where he failed to rise to the occasion against Robbie Arends of South Africa.

Motlojoa gave his best performance at the games when he beat Tsepo Mosarwa of Botswana in the quarterfinals, who was for me a better player than the South African.

However, I understand that it has not been easy for the teenage sensation as he also had to sit for an examination later on the day, which could have been the reason that he was not at his best.

The good thing is that he bounced back the following day having slept only two hours after writing his examination and bagged the country’s first medal at the competitions.

What a humble fellow he is. Definitely a player for the future for the Mountain Kingdom.

I hope he continues to put his feet on the ground to reach his full potential and continues to grow.

I think the biggest credit goes to his family, who are known to be supportive of his career including his brother, Kukutla, who has also represented Lesotho in other competitions.

Being based in the United States of America has also helped the tennis star take his game to another level because he looks to be miles away from his three teammates Sempe Mpaleng, Manyama Maisa and Kekeletso Moseme, who were all part of the tennis team.

Maybe the infighting that has rocked the Lesotho Lawn Tennis Association (LLTA) in recent years has not helped their players especially the trio, who for me have the potential but need a lot more mentoring for improvement.

I have spoken to the coaches of both the netball and ladies football teams who say it was always going to be difficult for their teams because their sides are still work in progress.

However, I think as a country we need some serious introspection because our performance here is proof that we are not doing things right.

We always start preparations at the eleventh hour and it keeps backfiring while we have also neglected the young talent which needs to be developed.

The good thing is that our Minister of Sports, Gender, Youth and Recreation Mme Mahali Phamotse is also at the games and has spoken of her concerns regarding the performance of team Lesotho.

As a country we need an honest introspection as far as sports is concerned.

Mme Mahali has to come down hard on most of these associations as we can never get it right as long as there is the maladministration that we have had for so long.

I know one association recently banned me from their activities after I said they are incompetent but that’s the whole truth about why we have failed to make any meaningful progress as a country.

The administrators are just happy to be travelling the world and enriching themselves with any penny that comes their way.

This has been the case with one of the associations, where one of its high-ranking officials was caught red handed in the course of wrongdoing and could have easily ended up in jail.

But as usual, the officials keep covering each other’s tracks.

There is just too much corruption in sports and unfortunately it affects the performance of our country at the big stages. The sooner we can address this; the better it will be for the Mountain Kingdom.

We also need to get rid of opportunists who are in sports to make money instead of helping the athletes reach their full potential.

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