Mashale unhappy with officials
Mikia Kalati and Moorosi Tsiane
Team Lesotho’s head-of-delegation for the recently ended All-Africa Games, Moipone Mashale, insists the country could have won more than the two bronze medals it managed had it not been for poor officiating.
Boxer Moroke Mokhotho won Lesotho’s first medal at the 4–19 September showcase held in Brazzaville, Congo, with the tennis doubles team of Lebelo Mosehle and Bishop Mosebi adding the second.
Mashale told the Lesotho Times upon her arrival back in the country this week a good example of the poor officiating was in the boxing category where six locals made it to the quarterfinals, but with only one, Mokhotho, progressing to the semis. Lesotho had representation in taekwondo, boxing, tennis, athletics and sports for the visually impaired.
“Officiating was very bad and the fact that we had six boxers in the quarterfinals, with only one making it to semis, leaves a lot of question marks.
“I think for codes like boxing and taekwondo, it’s always difficult due to the fact that refereeing is up to individuals and we feel we were robbed in some of the fights,” Mashale said.
She further told the Lesotho Times that French-speaking countries were also at an advantage as referees always pretended not to understand English should one raise a complaint.
Mashale admitted her expectations were high before the tournament, and expected more than two medals from the 28-member team.
“Overall, I’m satisfied with the performance of the team. I think we worked hard and gave it our best, but expectations were much higher than the two medals we won when we left for Congo,” said Mashale.
“In athletics, I think Kenya and Ethiopia were ahead of us because in most cases, you would find that immediately after them, it was our athletes. This means we have to put more effort going forward.
“We had a team of young and experienced athletes which got us mixed results in the end, but I think we learned a lot from this experience.”
Meanwhile, Mokhotho was left blaming himself for not going all the way to final and taking the coveted gold medal.
“I did not fight the way I expected at all. I had targeted reaching the final and facing a certain opponent who is currently the world champion in our division, so I think I lost focus somehow,” Mokhotho said.
“I really felt bad after losing a fight I could have won had I put more pressure on my opponent. Instead, I wanted to save energy for the final as I thought I had already won but things did not go my way and I lost the fight. I was told I lost it in last two rounds.”
Mokhotho also said he was now more determined than to make up for the loss.
“It was a bitter pill to swallow, but then, a learning curve for me. I learnt that I should treat all fights the same and must stop undermining my opponents because only the judges make decisions about who has won or lost the fight,” said Mokhotho.