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My plea to new government

by Lesotho Times
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MikiaThe general elections have come and gone and Basotho now await the installation of a new prime minister and cabinet.

I’m not much into politics, but have still decided this week to focus on the challenges the new government faces as far as sport is concerned.

I think it is only natural for the sporting fraternity to be optimistic about the future after casting their vote in the 28 February parliamentary elections, which brought in a new dispensation to be led by former premier, Pakalitha Mosisili.

There is no doubt local sport has suffered so much over the years that certain quarters have given up on our ability to compete at the highest level, which is why I have this plea for the new government.

And this special request is for the incoming administration to change how sport has previously been looked down upon and taken as a hobby, and invest heavily in it.

There is serious need to empower Lesotho’s youths and there is no better way to do this than investing in sporting facilities, which would ensure athletes reach their full potential.

Sport has now become big business that many sportsmen and women have since overcome poverty through their God-given talent.

For starters, our various sports associations have not been getting their regular quarterly grants from government, thereby grounding their operations and scuppering whatever hope there could have been of developing future stars.

A good example is football where Lesotho did not make it to three recent tournaments, namely the Africa Cup of Nations, African under-17 Championship and under-20 African Youth Championship.

This should be cause for concern to sports lovers as it clearly shows we are lagging behind the rest of the continent as far as football is concerned.

The Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association also had to cancel a trip to Ethiopia where our junior team was expected to compete over the past weekend.

I can go on and on because our associations have had to cancel many sporting activities due to lack of funding.

That is why I am saying I would really want to see the new government making a difference as far as sport is concerned.

I’m keenly waiting to see who is going to be appointed sports minister, as I feel we need somebody with a good background and understanding of sport.

Lesotho has gone for far too long without winning a major trophy, which is a shame considering this has not always been the case.

We used to have the likes of Moses Kopo, Letuka Sephula and Thabiso Moqhali performing well at major events such as the Olympics and doing this nation proud, but this is not happening anymore.

Again, associations must show that they have what it takes to improve standards, thereby encouraging government and the corporate world to give them funding.

These are all signs that something has to be done if we really want to compete with the rest of the African continent.

We have all seen how the high performance centre in Mauritius has improved our 200-metre sensation, Mosito Lehata, since he joined it in 2012.

I believe if the new government can show more interest in sport, we can send more athletes to similar state-of-the-art facilities, thereby boosting the country’s chances of producing such class-acts.

As somebody who eats and sleeps sport, I’m really hoping the new administration is going to come-up with new ideas of making this a better sporting nation.

Sporting codes such as rugby and basketball have continued to make major strides despite their financial struggles and I believe they could become even better with improved facilities and financial support.

This country has benefitted a lot through sport as many of our stars have put the country on the map, so to speak.

We have the likes of ‘Mamoroallo Tjoka, who has won the Soweto Marathon a historic seven times and I think it’s very unfortunate that she has not been honoured by our government, the way she deserves.

All I’m saying is these sporting figures can do better with a little bit of support and appreciation from their government the way it happens in other countries.

 

 

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