Legend endorses local basketball

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Mikia Kalati

Federation of International Basketball Associations (FIBA) advisor, Lubomir Kotleba, says he is impressed with the way basketball is being administered in Lesotho.

The Slovak arrived in the country on Sunday and left yesterday after visiting Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek, Berea, Leribe and Butha-Buthe, among other destinations, and getting first-hand information on the work of the Lesotho Basketball Association (LBA).

The respected Kotleba started his basketball journey as a player in 1968 and has since been a coach and referee before taking administrative roles within the world basketball-governing body.

Kotleba on Tuesday told the Lesotho Times that he was happy with what he saw during his tour, but also expressed concern over the level of coaching and refereeing in Lesotho.

“Part of my visit is to see the condition of the facilities and also assess the level of coaching and refereeing which I both feel are lagging behind,” Kotleba said.

“I also watched a couple of games and I have seen that there is talent in this country, which however, needs a lot of hard work to full its potential.”

Kotleba also said he was surprised with the progress Lesotho has been made as far as basketball is concerned.

“My message to the association is that they need to increase their player-base because we will bring qualified personnel to help improve the level of coaching and also officiating in this country,” said Kotleba.

“With the way things are going for the LBA, I have no doubt they will have a product that will be marketable and easy to sell for as long as they maintain their transparency.

“I’m also happy with what I saw in terms of the facilities because I did not expect it. It is indeed strange because Lesotho is ahead of most developing countries when it comes to basketball.”

For his part, LBA general manager, Palo Mohlotsane, expressed optimism following Kotleba’s visit.

“There is so much we have to do in order to reach our goals, but indications are there that we are on the right track and doing something for our country,” Mohlotsane said.

“But at the same time, we need to work harder to produce quality coaches, referees and also improve the numbers in terms of players.

“I think that can make us a better country in the next 10 years as far as basketball is concerned,” he said.

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