Netball team thrashed

MASERU — Lesotho’s netballers were this week reminded of the gulf in class between them and the rest of Africa when they were thrashed at the qualifying tournament for the World Netball Championships.

The qualifying tournament, taking place in Pretoria, South Africa, started on Monday and ends on Saturday.

Only the top two of the eight countries in Pretoria will make it to the World Netball Championships in Singapore in July next year.

Malawi, by virtue of their top-five world ranking, are automatically through to the championships.

But Lesotho, ranked 23 and last in the world, were quickly blown into oblivion in the qualifiers this week.

There are only 23 countries in the world that have qualified for ranking by the International Federation of Netball Associations.

On Monday Lesotho were thumped 50-25 by Tanzania before they were walloped 84-16 by South Africa.

In their last Pool A match the following day, Lesotho were clobbered 58-24 by Zimbabwe, reducing their remaining matches in the tournament to dead rubbers.

Despite the humbling experience, Lesotho’s head of delegation Moipone Mashale surprisingly insisted the team had done well.

“We are playing well,” Mashale told the Lesotho Times from Pretoria by telephone.

“We have played three teams and they have defeated us.”

She refused to talk further about Lesotho’s performance in the qualifiers.

“Can’t you wait for us to come back home and give you a press release regarding this matter?” Mashale said.

The team is expected home tomorrow.

Pool B had Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Uganda.

Lesotho squad

‘Malesenyeho Matsepe, Thato Lekhoana, Nthabiseng Phokojoe, ‘Mabaleseng Ramonyaluoe, Neo Mothobi, Matseliso Mokilane, ‘Malintsa Khanyetsi, ‘Mamotsabi Lekhabunyane, Morongoe Lesia, Masebochane Seetane, ‘Mamojaki Tjabane and Khahliso Matsinyane.

Head coach: Thabang Mafatlane; assistant coach: Khauhelo Mokapela; and team manager: Matau Mafa.

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